Politics & Government

Charlotte abortion clinic: Our phones, Internet were ‘cyber-attacked’

Customers are shielded with umbrellas as they enter the A Preferred Women's Health Center of Charlotte. The clinic said its phones and Internet was severed Tuesday in what the clinic said was a cyber-attack.
Customers are shielded with umbrellas as they enter the A Preferred Women's Health Center of Charlotte. The clinic said its phones and Internet was severed Tuesday in what the clinic said was a cyber-attack. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

A Charlotte clinic that offers abortions said its phones and Internet were severed Tuesday, and the clinic believes it was “cyber-attacked” by protesters who have gathered outside the clinic for years.

Calla Hales, an administrator with A Preferred Women’s Health of Charlotte, said someone also stuffed objects in the drainpipes outside the building, which temporarily shut off their toilets and running water in their administrative building.

The police came to the clinic on Latrobe Drive to investigate Wednesday.

“We have never had something this targeted before,” Hales said. “This looks like it’s intentional.”

Daniel Parks, the leader of the anti-abortion group Cities4Life, said his group did not attack the clinic.

“I would never think of doing anything that, and we have no desire to do anything like that,” he said.

Parks said he the clinic might have cut off their own phones in order “to create a crisis.”

“I wouldn’t past them to say we did it,” he said.

On Monday night’s City Council meeting, hundreds of anti-abortion protesters protested the city’s consideration of installing no-parking signs outside the clinic.

The Charlotte Department of Transportation said it’s reviewing traffic flows in the office park, and that it wants to ensure that vehicles and pedestrians can access the area safely.

Cities4Life often parks an RV that offers ultrasounds in front of the clinic. And on some Saturday mornings, the street and sidewalk is filled with protestors.

Pro-abortion rights groups have said Cities4Life makes it difficult for its patients and employees to access the clinic.

At Monday’s meeting, anti-abortion protesters said the city was attacking them for their beliefs.

One woman, Vicky Kaserog, said it’s “easy to silence those you disagree with with regulations.”

Hales said the main part of the clinic was not impacted. But she said the damage to the administrative building will cost thousands of dollars to fix, and that as many as 350 prospective patients couldn’t reach the clinic Tuesday. She said the clinic’s phone and Internet is now working sporadically.

She said no other business on Latrobe Drive had problems with their phones and Internet Tuesday or Wednesday.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs

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