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Orange County Focus

NEWPORT BEACH : Threat Follows Blast at Abortion Clinic

September 15, 1993|GREG HERNANDEZ

The manager of a clinic that performs abortions received an anonymous telephone threat over the weekend, a day after windows near the entrance of the clinic were shattered by a bomb, police said Tuesday.

"The manager got a call from someone who said her car and house were going to be blown up 'if you don't stop killing babies,' " Newport Beach Police Sgt. Andy Gonis said. "The caller also said: 'This is your first warning.' "

Although the caller, who had a deep voice and a Southern accent, apparently did not know the manager by name, he did accurately describe her house and car during the telephone call, which was made about 3 p.m. on Saturday, Gonis said.

"There's a possibility that the telephone call is connected to the explosion or maybe it's just a prank call," Gonis said. "But if it is a prank call, it's a very strange one and something we are taking very seriously."

Police said the clinic had not reported any telephone threats in the past. Police in other Orange County cities where Family Planning Associates have clinics said they were not aware of any threats made to those offices.

Police were called to the Family Planning Associates clinic in the 4500 block of Birch Street, about a block away from John Wayne Airport, about 7 a.m. on Friday after employees arrived to find two windows flanking the front door shattered. .

An explosive device was left in a flower bed beneath the windows and detonated while the clinic was closed overnight. The blast hurt no one.

Gonis said Tuesday that Newport Beach police had received an anonymous telephone call just before 5 a.m. Friday stating that there had been some kind of explosion in the area.

Police recovered a plastic gas can filled with liquid but it could be weeks before bomb experts can identify what kind of explosive caused the blast.

Family Planning Associates Medical Group, headed by Dr. Edward Allred, runs 42 clinics in California, including the one in Newport Beach and four others in Orange County. The Long Beach-based organization is the biggest provider of abortion services in the state, and possibly in the nation.

Last Friday's blast was the second time the clinic was damaged in the last 14 months. In July, 1992, a late-night fire believed to be arson burned the entrance and lobby, causing $9,000 in damage.

Small numbers of protesters picket and distribute leaflets several times a week at the clinic, administrator Michael Monji said after last week's explosion. He added that there had been no previous threats against the clinic.

Neither Allred or Monji were available Tuesday to comment on the telephone threat.

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