A bomb exploded outside Asheville, North Carolina’s Femcare clinic early Saturday morning. The bomb, which only partially detonated, caused damage to the outside of the building but did not cause any physical injuries. The Femcare clinic has been the target of numerous anti-abortion protests during its 10-year history and received an anthrax threat last month.
The bomb was placed into a knapsack and exploded at around 7:30a.m., 1/2 hour before the clinic was scheduled to open. Officials found what they believe was either a secondary incendiary device or a portion of the original device that did not explode and were able to detonate it early Saturday evening.
Agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms joined local authorities in investigating the bombing, noting that Asheville is only about an hour’s drive away from the national forest where bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph is thought to be hiding. Although initial reports indicated that the recent bomb boar little resemblance to the bomb used in the Birmingham blast, officials would not rule out the possibility that Rudolph may be responsible. The January ’98 bombing of the New Woman, All Women clinic in Birmingham claimed the life of security guard Robert Sanderson and seriously injured clinic nurse Emily Lyons.
President Clinton condemned the bombing by saying, “We can all be grateful that no one was harmed and that the clinic suffered only minor damage. But whether or not a terrorist’s bomb achieves its deadly purpose, such cowardly criminal acts strike at the heart of the constitutional freedoms and individual liberties all Americans hold dear.”