News Violence

Bomb Scare Rattles Staff at Texas Abortion Clinics

Andrea Grimes

An abortion clinic owner says her staff was sent into a "panic" Wednesday morning after suspicious envelopes were found taped to facility doors. The false alarm came the same day the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments challenging a buffer zone law designed to protect patients and clinic workers from anti-choice protesters.

Police gave medical staff and patients clearance to return inside an Austin reproductive health-care facility after suspicious envelopes were found taped to the exterior of the Whole Woman’s Health clinics and headquarters in Austin and San Antonio. Both locations provide legal abortion procedures.

The Austin police department, bomb squad, and hazmat crew responded to the clinic’s call at 7:40 a.m. CT.

“It wasn’t a bomb,” Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller told Rewire after her staff returned to work. “We are back inside and everything’s fine now.”

Hagstrom Miller said that the hand-written envelopes were taped to clinic doors, but were ultimately found to contain “court documents” concerning “someone who is in need of our services from Whole Woman’s Health.”

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The envelopes nonetheless incited “panic” at the clinics, said Hagstrom Miller, which are often flanked by anti-choice protesters. Hagstrom Miller said that she hopes the Austin police are “taking action … to hold the person who taped the stuff to our door accountable for their actions.”

A few hours after the panic began at the Texas clinics, the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments challenging a Massachusetts law that creates buffer zones around abortion facilities to protect patients and clinic workers from aggressive, and sometimes violent, anti-choice protesters.

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