Letters Threaten Eight U.S. Abortion Clinics With Anthrax

A total of eight abortion clinics received letters on Friday and Saturday containing a brown powdery substance with a note claiming that the contents were anthrax, a deadly bacteria used in biological weapons. The threats, which were confirmed to be a hoax, came one week after the murder of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian of Amherst, NY.

The FBI has not pinpointed any suspects. “We now know that these letters appear not to be what they’re claiming to be, but just because it’s not anthrax doesn’t mean it’s not a crime,” stated FBI agent Doug Garrison. “It’s a crime nonetheless to threaten to use a weapon of mass destruction.”

The clinics targeted with threatening letters are located in Indianapolis, New Albany and Scottsburg, Indiana; Knocksville, Tennesee; Wichita, Kansas; and Louisville, Kentucky. The Louisville clinic received three letters. All eight letters were sent from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Results have already come back from tests performed on the brown, powdery substance found in four of the eight letters. No indication of anthrax was found. Results from the four other letters are due later in the week.

Authorities in Indianapolis treated 31 people with antibiotics Friday as a precaution in case the substance had been anthrax. Two others were also treated at a Louisville hospital Friday.


AP - November 2, 1998

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