Harmless yet 'alarming' object found outside Dallas abortion clinic

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The suspicious object left outside a women’s clinic that performs abortions in Dallas was harmless, police said.

Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief David Pughes said members of a pro-life group reported finding a trash bag with an unknown object in it outside the Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center on Greenville Avenue around 8 a.m. Friday.

The bomb squad and a hazardous materials team were called to the scene as a safety precaution and the intersection of Greenville Avenue at Royal Lane was shut down. Police also asked news helicopters to stay at a distance so the officers could do their work.

After an examination, Pughes said they determine the object was not a threat. He did call it alarming.

"It was not explosive, it was not flammable," Pughes said. "But it was definitely put there as a hoax to create fear and alarm."

Susan Platt, a member of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee’s 40 Days for Life group, said her group has been praying near the abortion clinic for the past few days. She described what she saw.

“Wrapped in black plastic. It looked like it might have been a doll or something. I don’t know,” said Susan Platt with 40 Days for Life. “It had a little short human form, probably a couple of feet tall. When police got here, they took it very seriously.”

In a statement, the Catholic Pro-Life Committee said it believes its members were targeted. They claim it’s the second time in two weeks.

“Early this morning, a suspicious package was discovered at the site. This event comes on the heels of our prayer volunteers witnessing a man vandalizing the site including spilling red paint on the sidewalk, dumping out our vigil materials, and leaving a beheaded doll with the words "Pro- Choice" written on it. Police were called in response to both incidences,” the group said.