The Basilica of St. Mary, located in Alexandria, encouraged its parishioners to contact the city council about the proclamation. Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington released a statement condemning the proclamation as well.
Burbidge called on residents of Alexandria “to express their opposition to this proclamation,” and for everyone else in the diocese to “proclaim the Gospel of Life by word and example.”
According to the now-rescinded proclamation, “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day” is to “celebrate the courage, compassion, and the high-quality care that abortion providers and clinic staff provide” and to honor the memory of Dr. David Gunn. Gunn, an abortionist, was murdered on March 10, 1993, outside of the Pensacola Women's Medical Services abortion clinic.
His killer, Michael Frederick Griffin, reportedly yelled “don’t kill any more babies” before fatally shooting Gunn. Griffin was sentenced to life in prison.
“Abortion Provider Appreciation Day,” which is also known as the “National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers,” is a national campaign that was was started in 1996 by the Abortion Care Network to honor Gunn. Gunn is believed to be the first abortionist to be murdered by someone looking to prevent further abortions.
Since Gunn’s murder, three other abortionists have been murdered in the United States.