CLINIC BOMBING: First Death Ever In Alabama
"A police officer ... was killed [yesterday] when a bomb ripped through a Southside abortion clinic," the Birmingham Post-Herald reports. "At least two other people, one believed to be a nurse, were injured" in the early morning blast. The explosion at the New Woman, All Women Health Care Clinic in South Birmingham represents the first fatality ever in a clinic bombing. The bomb went off at 7:30 a.m., about 30 minutes before patients normally start arriving. The Birmingham Post-Herald reported that "a suspect was taken into custody shortly after the bombing" (Rupinski, 1/29). However, today's New York Times reports that the suspect was later released and that investigators are not commenting "on what, if any, suspects they have." The Times further reports that the bombing "is believed to be the first fatal bombing of an abortion clinic in the United States." The victim was an off-duty police officer who worked part-time as a guard at the clinic (Bragg, 1/30).
In a prepared statement, President Clinton said, "This bombing was an unforgivable act that strikes at the heart of the constitutional freedoms and individual liberties all Americans hold dear." He highlighted existing legislation that makes it a crime to interfere with a woman seeking to enter a family planning clinic, adding, "We will continue to enforce that law to its fullest extent -- and to protect our nation's family planning clinics" (release, 1/29). Activists on both sides of the abortion debate condemned the act as wanton violence, which will not affect any positive discourse or change (multiple sources, 1/30).