November 10, 2001
Terrorists Send New Anthrax Threats to Planned Parenthood Via
Federal Express; Forged Airbills are Newest Threat to Reproductive Rights
At least 132 Federal Express
packages containing an unknown powdery substance were received today by
Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country. Other pro-choice
organizations and reproductive health providers received similar packages.
The airbills for the packages sent to Planned Parenthood affiliates were
forged to make it appear as if they had been sent from within the
Planned Parenthood officials said they are outraged that overnight delivery
appears to be the latest method for domestic terrorists to spread fear. They
said that Planned Parenthood remains steadfast in its mission, and that the
safety of staff and patients remains paramount.
"We remain committed to providing for the health needs of the thousands of
women and other Americans who rely on our services on a daily basis," said
Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "We
will not be deterred from fulfilling our obligation to them.
"We are pleased with the cooperation we have received from the FBI following
the first round of letters we received last month. That cooperation is
continuing today," Feldt said. "We are hopeful that the perpetrators will be
identified, captured, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
"These letters are designed to terrorize us, and disrupt our work and our
lives. That's terrorism, plain and simple, and we take it very seriously,"
Feldt said. "The fact that they would forge the names of our staff members
to terrorize employees is truly evil. Their heinous activities will not
Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and the Feminist
Majority are jointly asking for a meeting with U.S. Attorney General John
Ashcroft and Director of Homeland Security Thomas Ridge.
* Planned Parenthood officials are working with the FBI and other federal
and state authorities on the investigation. Tests are underway to determine
the nature of the powdery substance, but no conclusive results have yet been
* Planned Parenthood officials say the packages were mailed from the FedEx
World Service Center in Philadelphia. Authorities have confirmed that at
least 33 of these packages contained a powdery substance and threatening
letters signed by the "Army of God," a domestic terrorist group that has
claimed responsibility for previous attacks on reproductive health care
* It appears the packages were sent with forged air bills with a staff
person's name and a valid PPFA account number. The FBI is continuing to
investigate these documents, along with all other pertinent aspects of the
packages. At least several other reproductive health and rights
organizations have also reported receiving packages.
* Not all of the mailed packages have arrived at their destinations yet, and
FedEx is trying to intercept them. This includes a number of packages that
have been sent to undetermined locations on the West Coast.
* Planned Parenthood officials are urging their affiliates to accept the
packages, place them directly into a plastic bag, and immediately call their
local FBI office.
* This latest round of domestic terrorism comes on the heels of incidents in
recent weeks, in which Planned Parenthood affiliates east of St. Louis
received 170 hate letters containing an unknown powdery substance. Planned
Parenthood officials are still testing the envelopes for traces of anthrax.
To date, those tested have been negative for the virus.
* "We are pleased with the cooperation we have received from the FBI
following the first round of letters, and that cooperation is continuing
today," Feldt said. "We are hopeful that the perpetrators will be
identified, captured, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
* Some of the earlier letters also were signed by the Army of God. The
letters have had a return address of either the U.S. Secret Service or the
U.S. Marshals, and in some instances, an embossed message reading
"Time Sensitive -- Urgent Security Notice -- Open Immediately."