- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A 52-year-old Austin woman faces felony assault charges after she allegedly threw an ignited Molotov cocktail toward a group of pro-life protesters outside a Planned Parenthood facility Monday night.

Melanie Marie Toney eventually admitted to police that she threw an object that “might” have been smoldering from her vehicle toward the Planned Parenthood facility at 201 E. Ben White Blvd. She did not say whether she was aiming for the facility or the protesters, and her motive remains unclear, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Ruth Allwein, a volunteer of the pro-life campaign called 40 Days For Life, told police that she believed the group was targeted. She said they were praying in a grassy area in front of the Planned Parenthood when a woman driving a white vehicle threw a bottle that was lit and flaming out of her window, according to an arrest affidavit.

Ms. Allwein said the bottle landed on the ground next to her and caused a small grass fire, which she stomped out. No one was injured.

The bottle was of Gumout gas treatment, a flammable liquid that bomb squad investigators said resembled a Molotov cocktail, the American-Statesman reported.

Ms. Toney was arrested less than three miles from the Planned Parenthood facility and jailed on $25,000 bond.

Heather Gardner, executive director of Central Texas Coalition for Life, said people have thrown objects at them before, but nothing like this.

“This is definitely the first time that something of this nature has been thrown at us that’s actually threatened and put people in danger, so it’s obviously very alarming,” she told a local NBC affiliate.

Planned Parenthood agreed that violence is not the answer.

“The health and safety of Planned Parenthood patients and employees is of our most concern. All individuals that are anywhere near or properties we want to remain safe, much like the core value of the city of Austin, we want this community to be safe,” said Ken Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, the NBC affiliate reported. “We’re just thankful that all of our staff, visitors and those near our facilities are safe and healthy today.”

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