A Wisconsin pro-life group’s office was set on fire early Sunday and vandalized with abortion-themed graffiti in what authorities are investigating as an arson.
The Wisconsin Family Action headquarters suffered fire damage after someone threw a Molotov cocktail inside the building in Madison, which was discovered after a passerby saw flames coming out of the building at about 6 a.m., according to police.
“Arson investigators are working with fire department officials to determine an exact cause,” said the Madison police incident report. “A molotov cocktail, which did not ignite, was thrown inside the building. It also appears a separate fire was started in response.”
In addition, the building was spray-painted with the message: “If abortions aren’t safe than you aren’t either.” No injuries were reported.
Police said that federal investigators were briefed on the attack, and linked the incident to Monday’s leaked Supreme Court draft overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide.
“The Madison Police Department understands members of our community are feeling deep emotions due to the recent news involving the United States Supreme Court,” said Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes in a statement. “Early Sunday morning, our team began investigating a suspicious fire inside an office building on the city’s north side. It appears a specific non-profit that supports anti-abortion measures was targeted.”
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Photos posted online showed burned books and damaged furniture and walls.
This attack is abhorrent and should be condemned by all. https://t.co/CGnPmMJUmo— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) May 8, 2022
Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling said she believes the fire was “a direct threat against us.”
“This is the local manifestation of the anger and the lack of tolerance from the pro-abortion people toward those of us who are pro-life,” she said.
Also decrying the attack were Wisconsin officials, including Gov. Tony Evers.
“We condemn violence and hatred in all forms, including the actions at Wisconsin Family Action in Madison last night. We reject violence against any person for disagreeing with another’s view,” tweeted Mr. Evers. “Violence is not the way forward. Hurting others is never the answer.”
The Democratic governor added: “We will work against overturning Roe and attacks on reproductive rights by leading with empathy and compassion.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, said the attack was “abhorrent and should be condemned by all.”
This story was based in part on wire-service reports.
• Valerie Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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