July 13, 1996 in Nation/World

Bombing More Than A Decoy For Robbery, Clinic Officials Believe

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Planned Parenthood officials aren’t sure that Friday afternoon’s bombing of the clinic’s Spokane Valley office was merely a decoy for a bank robbery.

Long-running protests in Spokane have them believing they were chosen for a reason.

“It does seem suspicious to me that this is a decoy,” said Sandra Meicher, executive director of Planned Parenthood for Spokane and Whitman County. “I have trouble not making a connection.”

The clinic was closed Friday and no one was injured.

By the time Meicher arrived at the torn building at 20 S. Pines, she had been briefed about the bombing and subsequent robbery of a U.S. Bank branch at Sprague and Mullan. Planned Parenthood has an account at the branch.

Speculation that the bombing was a distraction for the robbery was rampant. Meicher was skeptical.

Planned Parenthood staff had just weathered a tense confrontation with Operation Rescue in late June, said Pamela Place, education director.

Anti-abortion protesters picketed the clinic’s main office at 123 E. Indiana, carrying 6-foot high posters of aborted fetuses.

“It’s been nerve-racking, but I’m totally committed,” Place said.

But if bombers targeted the Valley building because they thought abortions were performed there, they missed their target, Meicher said.

“This is not an abortion clinic,” she said. “There are no surgical procedures performed here.”

The small Valley clinic provides basic health care and family planning and is a source for birth control devices, Meicher said. That made it an unlikely target for violence, she assumed.

“We had absolutely no threats,” Meicher said.

At Planned Parenthood’s main Spokane office, appointments continued uninterrupted Friday afternoon.

But downstairs in the agency’s executive offices, worried employees stood in the hall, watching a television for additional news of the bombing of their Valley clinic.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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