Now This Log

Monday, 22 October 2001 : "Story not being covered much"

In the wall-to-wall television coverage of anthrax fear, one particular story which you might think would be included is getting curiously little play. You have to look pretty hard to find even these mentions:

Ask clinics about fear [Boston Globe]
Those who staff abortion clinics, of necessity, are a determined lot. Seven of their own have been murdered in recent years simply for providing women with access to a constitutionally protected medical procedure. This week's batch of [110] threatening letters is only the most recent. ... All of those letters were hoaxes, but none led to even a single arrest.

"Of course, we're sorry that Tom Daschle and Tom Brokaw and their staffs have to suffer the fear we have suffered. But why is an assault on them any more horrible than an assault on a young woman who opens the mail at a women's health clinic in North Carolina?"

US Attorney General John Ashcroft warned yesterday that those who would perpetrate an anthrax hoax at this time are guilty of a "grotesque transgression of the public trust." He did not cite antiabortion extremists as an example but mentioned, instead, an employee of the Department of Environmental Protection in Connecticut who, in a misguided attempt at humor, left a harmless white powder on a co-worker's desk and stood silent while the building was evacuated and the workers decontaminated. That stunning lapse in judgment could yield the jokester five years in prison and a multimillion-dollar fine.

Where, one wonders, is a similar vigilance to apprehend and prosecute those who aim not to amuse but to terrify women and their doctors, and to deny them their legal right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?
Planned Parenthood Offices Nationwide Receive Envelopes Containing Unknown White Powder [PlannedParenthood]
Some of the letters included messages from the "Army of God", a domestic terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for attacks on reproductive healthcare providers. The envelopes, mailed to affiliates on the east coast and Midwest, had pre-printed return addresses from the U.S. Marshall's Office and the Secret Service. Some have an embossed message that reads, "Time Sensitive Urgent Security Notice Open Immediately." The letters were mailed from Columbus, OH; Atlanta, GA; Chattanooga and Knoxville, TN. At an affiliate in Greensboro, N.C., an initial field test on the grainy substance has come back negative.


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