Anti-Abortion Extremist Sentenced to 19 Years for Fake Anthrax Mailings
Anti-abortion extremist Clayton Waagner was sentenced to 19 years in prison without parole for sending fake anthrax mailings to over women's health clinics and reproductive rights organizations at the height of the anthrax scare following September 11, 2001. The threatening letters that accompanied the anthrax hoax mailings were signed by the Army of God, the group that claimed credit for bombings at abortion clinics in Birmingham and Atlanta, among other violent acts. Waagner, 48, is already serving more than 48 years in prison for other charges, including escaping from prison and eluding authorities for ten months, during which time he threatened to kill abortion providers and was named one of the FBI’s “Most Wanted” fugitives.
Waagner expressed no remorse for his actions in federal court on Thursday in Philadelphia, according to The Morning Call. He was convicted by a federal jury in 2003 of 51 charges, including the threatening use of a weapon of mass destruction, violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances (FACE) Act, extortion, and mailing threatening communication.
In 2001, when Waagner mailed his anthrax threats, Congress and media outlets had just received real anthrax by mail. Therefore, Waagner's threats were taken very seriously. When the fake anthrax was mailed to abortion clinics nationwide, the Feminist Majority Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and the National Abortion Federation immediately alerted clinics to prevent clinic workers from opening mail they thought was contaminated. These alerts helped law enforcement by directing them to the "scope of the investigation," allowing the FBI to immediately "declare it a national investigation and start the collection of evidence across the nation," according to Margaret Moore, director of law enforcement for the Feminist Majority Foundation.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .