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Are Atlanta's OB/GYN clinics under attack?

7:22 PM, May 24, 2012   |    comments
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  • Bank surveillance shot of man wanted for questioning in Marietta OBGYN clinic fire
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ATLANTA - No one is completely sure they're related or exactly what the motive might be, but a series of apparent attacks against metro Atlanta area OB/GYN clinics has those in that profession on edge.

"This type of environment and the types of things that have been happening to our members is concerning," said Pat Cota, Executive Director of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society.

Last March someone broke into the society's Suwanee office and made off with two laptop computers that contained membership information.

Someone also burglarized two of their members' clinics this past winter.

The break-ins happened right in the middle of a heated state legislative debate over the so-called "fetal pain" bill that put tighter restrictions on abortions in Georgia.

Now this week someone apparently set fire to two separate clinics in Gwinnett and Cobb Counties.

The irony is that except for Wednesday's Cobb County clinic fire, none of the other victims performed abortions.

Some victims, as well as the OB/GYN society, did speak out against other parts of the bill that affected their profession.

"We'd just like to say that for whatever reason, we'd like these types of things to stop," Cota told 11Alive News on Thursday.

"It's frightening and we're watching the news just like everybody else is right now," said Suzanne Ward of Georgia Right to Life.

She told 11Alive that violence has no part in any discussion.

"We have no idea who might have done this horrendous act, but we condemn it," Ward added.

For the first time this week, FBI and ATF agents are now involved in the case.

They're still not saying all the incidents are necessarily related or what a motive might be.

But the FBI released bank surveillance photos of an African-American man seen near the Cobb clinic fire.

They describe him as about 5'10" to 6'1" tall with a blue polo shirt with an emblem on the left chest and khaki pants.

They believe he was driving an older model gray Mercury Marquis with tinted windows and large chrome custom wheels.

The FBI isn't calling him a suspect, but says agents want to talk to him.

Right after the March burglary at the OB/GYN Society headquarters in Suwanee, Gwinnett County Police described a man seen running from the building as African-American, about 6' tall, 250 pounds with a dark colored short-sleeve shirt, black jeans, black gloves, a black beanie cap and sunglasses.

So far, no one has been arrested in any of the incidents.

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