More than 170 clinics from 14 states and the District of Columbia received threatening letters yesterday containing a white powder. The letters stated, “You have been exposed to anthrax. We are going to kill you. Army of God, Virginia DARE Chapter.” Clinic workers opened envelopes believing that they came from the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshall Service – the return address indicated on the envelopes. Postmarks on the envelopes were marked Atlanta, GA; Knoxville, TN; Chattanooga, TN; or Columbus, OH. County health officials are currently testing the letters’ contents for anthrax spores.
The Army of God (AOG) is a clandestine, violent anti-abortion extremist group who has claimed responsibility for several abortion clinic bombings and arsons across the country, including a 1998 fatal bombing at an abortion clinic in Alabama. AOG has also been implicated in the 1996 Olympic Park bombing as well as the bombing of an abortion clinic and a gay and lesbian nightclub in Atlanta. The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) has been monitoring the Army of God since 1982. FMF President Eleanor Smeal declared “We must have a zero tolerance for both domestic and global terrorism. At a time like this, these incidents must be taken seriously.”
The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) makes these anthrax threats a violation of federal law. Margie Moore, Director of Law Enforcement Operations for the FMF’s National Clinic Access Project urged clinic staff who receive these letters, or any other threatening letters, to notify local law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately.