Anthrax threat to Planned Parenthood clinic follows threats

Tuesday, January 4th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- About 20 threatening letters claiming to contain anthrax have been sent to abortion clinics nationwide in the past few days, including one that caused police to shut down a 10-block area of Toledo on Tuesday.

Authorities said there was little reason to believe the threat sent to a Planned Parenthood clinic here was credible.

"None of them have had any credible threat behind them," said fire Capt. Greg Locher.

The FBI said an apparent anthrax threat Monday at an abortion clinic in Fort Wayne, Ind., was a hoax. Federal investigators in
Birmingham, Ala., said tests on a threatening letter sent to an abortion clinic there Monday show it was not contaminated with anthrax bacteria either.

A letter received Tuesday at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Portland, Maine, was also believed to be a hoax.

The FBI was testing a letter received Tuesday by a Planned Parenthood clinic in Roanoke, Va.

"We're cautiously optimistic it was a hoax," David Nova, president of Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge, said Tuesday.

Anthrax is a usually harmless bacteria that can be fatal to humans in certain forms. It can be manufactured as a biological weapon.

Sporadic threats of contamination with anthrax have affected almost every region of the nation over the last several years. The
FBI said a spate of letters last year contained only a sticky substance or dark powder.