The Army of God claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic in letters postmarked just hours after the explosion. Letters sent to Reuters news agency, WAGA-TV of Atlanta and The Atlanta Journal and Constitution were all handwritten in block-style capital letters. The messages were in some ways identical to those claiming responsibility for the bombing of the Atlanta Family Planning Services clinic in January 1997, and the Otherside Lounge on February 21, 1997.
FBI agent Woody Endersen, head of the Atlanta Bomb Task Force, believes the letters came from the same source, “The handwriting and other elements are identical,” he said. However, FBI spokesman Craig Dahle said that it is “too soon to say anything now” about the “authenticity” of the letters.
The most recent letter threatened additional violence towards those who provide abortion services. “Let those who work in the murder mill’s (sic) around the nation be warned once more — you will be targeted without quarter — you are not immune from retaliation. Your commisar’s (sic) in Washington can’t protect you,” the letter threatens.
The letter also refers to the French abortion pill, RU-486, that is being offered through clinical trials throughout the United States by the Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM). “We will target anyone who manufactures, markets, sells and distrobtes (sic) the pill.”
The Army of God became known in the early 1980’s when it set fire to two Florida abortion clinics. Later that year a bombing occurred in a Falls Church, VA. clinic, and Dr. Hector Zaevallos and his wife were kidnapped from their home. Although members of the Army of God are not known, Don Benny Anderson, who was convicted of the arsons, bombing and kidnapping, declared himself the group’s leader. The militant, anti-abortion group also distributes a manual containing information on how to make a bomb.
Kathy Spillar, national coordinator for the Feminist Majority Foundation, said the letters from the Army of God “must be taken very seriously,” and stressed previous letters sent during the Atlanta bombings which claimed, “the next facility targeted may not be empty. Clearly that is what happened in Birmingham,” said Spillar.
Abortion-rights supporters from around the country traveled to Birmingham to offer their assistance and help repair the damage. “The only way terrorists will win is if we fail to reopen clinics after they have been hit. We will not be intimated,” proclaimed Spillar.
New Women All Women’s Clinic co-owner Diane Derzis stated, “The only thing I’m thinking of doing is getting the clinic back open …What’s happened is not going to scare me out of the business.” Clinic phones lines will reopen today, and patients will be admitted Thursday. “We’ll work all night if we have to,” said Derzis. Workers remain calm. Currently, it is the “safest clinic in the U.S.,” the workers said.
Authorities continue their search for a 1989 gray Nissan pickup truck, with North Carolina plates KND-1117, registered to Eric Robert Rudolph. The truck was last seen leaving the scene following the explosion. A warrant has been issued for Rudolph, who is wanted for questioning as a witness.
Call 1-888-ATF-BOMB to give leads on suspects.
Feminist News on Clinic Violence