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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

October-16-01

Anthrax Threats Hit Over 170 Abortion Clinics Nationwide

FMF Urges Abortion Providers to be on Highest Alert

ARLINGTON, VA—Over 170 abortion clinics and doctors' offices in 14 states and the District of Columbia have received threatening letters claiming to contain anthrax. The envelopes had return addresses from the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshall Service with postmarks in either Atlanta, Georgia; Knoxville, Tennessee; Chattanooga, Tennessee; or Columbus, Ohio. The envelopes were described as having a note on the bottom left-hand corner marked, “TIME SENSITIVE: Urgent Security Notice Enclosed.” When opened by clinic staff, all letters contained a white powder with a letter stating, “You have been exposed to anthrax. We are going to kill all of you. Army of God, Virginia DARE Chapter.” The letters’ contents are currently being tested by county health officials for anthrax spores.

“Abortion providers must be on highest alert,” said Margie Moore, Director of Law Enforcement Operations for Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Access Project and an expert on domestic terrorism as it pertains to abortion clinic violence. “Clinic staff must use extraordinary caution in dealing with suspicious mail in the coming days. Under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, these anthrax threats are a violation of federal law and Attorney General Ashcroft has agreed to prosecute such violations.” Thus, Moore urged clinic staff who receive threatening letters to contact local law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately.

Margaret Moore is the Director of Law Enforcement Operations for the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Access Project. As the highest-ranking woman agent to ever serve in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), Moore is considered an expert on anti-abortion extremist violence. As a former Special Agent In-Charge, Moore has been instrumental in bombing and arson investigations for twenty years, including oversight for the forensic labs that successfully linked evidence involving Eric Robert Rudolph to the three Atlanta bombings in 1996.

The Army of God is a clandestine, violent anti-abortion extremist group who has claimed responsibility for several abortion clinic arsons and bombings across the country. Most recently, the Army of God received widespread public attention following the 1996 Olympic Park bombing as well as the bombing of an abortion clinic and a gay and lesbian nightclub in Atlanta. The Army of God also claimed credit for a 1998 fatal bombing at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, AL.

“We have been fighting the Army of God in the U.S. since its first violent acts in 1982,” said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal. “We must have zero tolerance for both domestic and global terrorism. At a time like this, these incidents must be taken extremely seriously.”

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Access Project is the oldest and largest clinic defense project in the nation, providing emergency clinic security, assistance, and community organizing support in the face of abortion clinic violence and terrorism. The National Clinic Access Project monitors anti-abortion extremists, and works with law enforcement to improve responsiveness to clinic violence. The project has conducted the most comprehensive annual nationwide social science survey of anti-abortion violence at women’s health clinics for the past eight years. Read the full report of the 2000 National Clinic Violence Survey online.

Read FMF's Online Security Alert

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