Residents of a north Garland neighborhood say they received black envelopes in the mail last week with a postcard inside bearing the image of a bloody fetus.
The residents have at least one thing in common: They all had yard signs showing support for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.
“We were horrified and just, like, gut-punched to see that image,” said Angela Fuller Heyde, an O’Rourke supporter who has lived in the Spring Park neighborhood for five years.
She received the postcard on Wednesday. It came in a black envelope with a stamp on it, but it wasn’t postmarked, she said.
All of the envelopes are addressed to “Beto supporter” and bear each resident’s street address. Inside is a postcard that reads, “Beto O’Rourke is not pro-choice, he is PRO-ABORTION! He wants more dead babies. He voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; He voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; He voted against a ban on abortion after 20 weeks.”
Beneath that, the postcard reads, in all capital letters, “Stop killing innocent unborn children. Your vote for O’Rourke is your vote for more abortion.”
The bottom half of the postcard includes a bloody image purported to be a fetus aborted in the first trimester.
The postcard — first reported in a tip to ProPublica’s Electionland coalition — also bears a web address for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, a California-based anti-abortion organization.
Calls and emails to the organization were not returned.
O’Rourke, a U.S. House member from El Paso who supports abortion rights, is locked in a tight battle with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
O’Rourke’s campaign representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Last week in Richardson, campaign signs for O’Rourke were burned along with signs for Democratic congressional candidate Colin Allred, who is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions.
Leigh Taylor, an 18-year resident of the neighborhood, received the postcard in her mail Friday. She suspects someone hand-delivered it to her mailbox because her family has “informed delivery” that provides online images of the mail before it’s delivered, and the black envelope never showed up in her preview.
She estimates that a dozen families received one of the envelopes.
“I was pretty afraid to put my sign up until I saw others doing it,” said Taylor, who describes herself as a “pro-choice Democrat. Progressive and getting more so.”
Taylor suspects someone drove through the neighborhood, which she described as “pretty traditionally Republican,” and scouted out yards with O’Rourke signs in them.
Fuller Heyde called Garland police, and an officer dispatched to her home told her no law had been broken.
Garland police Lt. Pedro Barineau said it’s possible the mailings could be considered harassment — which would be a local matter — or possibly mail fraud, which would be handled by the federal government.
“It does qualify as a type of harassment, but the investigation would be difficult and it would probably be difficult to track down the offenders,” Barineau said.
But if residents report it, Garland police will investigate, Barineau said.
Fuller Heyde, who calls herself as a progressive Democrat, said looking at the envelope jolted her and “felt threatening, in concurrence with the sign-burnings” in Richardson.
She’s said she’s never received anything like it in the mail.
“I’ve been called names before — not in this election — but I had an Obama sticker and got called a ‘commie.’ I said, ‘I don’t really think you know what that means,'” she said.
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