Washington, DC – Leading clinic defense groups, Feminist Majority Foundation, National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, were heartened today by Attorney General John Aschroft’s denunciation of those responsible for anthrax threats against women’s reproductive health care clinics. Ashcroft also named anti-abortion fugitive Clayton Lee Waagner as the FBI’s primary suspect in an unprecedented spate of anthrax threats against abortion providers in recent weeks. The groups cautioned, however, that the investigation should also focus on the network of individuals aiding and abetting Waagner, especially the Army of God. The three groups also urged that the Army of God be designated a domestic terrorist organization by the Department of Justice.
“For more than 20 years, individuals who are associated with the Army of God have orchestrated a campaign of terror against abortion providers,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “We urge the Administration to designate the Army of God as a domestic terrorist organization and expand the investigation to bring those who commit, aid, abet, and harbor individuals within this network back to justice.”
“We commend the Attorney General for this important first step in designating anti-choice extremist Clayton Waagner as a domestic terrorist,” said Vicki Saporta, Executive Director of the National Abortion Federation. “We urge him to take the additional steps that are critical to ensuring that domestic terrorism aimed at women’s reproductive health care providers is stopped. Only when those assisting Waagner are also apprehended will we come closer to protecting the women and men who provide safe, legal abortion services to women.”
“We must put an end to the terrorism that threatens our clinics daily,” said Gloria Feldt, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President. “It is long overdue that the Army of God be designated a terrorist organization and this network of domestic terrorism shut down.”
Waagner, a convicted felon and anti-abortion extremist escaped from jail on February 22 while awaiting sentencing on federal weapons and stolen vehicles charges. He is believed to have posted a message on the Army of God website directly threatening to kill persons involved in the provision of abortion services, including doctors, nurses, receptionists, and janitors. He remains on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List, the U.S. Marshals Service Fifteen Most Wanted List, as well as the ATF’s Ten Most Wanted List.###