Wisconsin anti-abortion office fire investigation ongoing

May 9, 2022, 6:38 AM | Updated: May 10, 2022, 6:48 am
Damage is seen in the interior of Madison's Wisconsin Family Action headquarters in Madison, Wis., ...

Damage is seen in the interior of Madison's Wisconsin Family Action headquarters in Madison, Wis., on Sunday, May 8, 2022. The Madison headquarters of the anti-abortion group was vandalized late Saturday or early Sunday, according to an official with the group. (Alex Shur/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

(Alex Shur/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Police asked for the public’s help in tracking down those who vandalized and threw two Molotov cocktails into the office of a prominent Wisconsin anti-abortion lobbying group’s office that was damaged by fire.

No one has been arrested and there are no suspects in custody in the fire that was discovered early Sunday morning when someone driving to Madison’s nearby airport noticed flames coming from the office building, Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes at a news conference Monday.

The fire at the Wisconsin Family Action office came after two Catholic churches in Colorado, including one known for its annual anti-abortion display, were vandalized last week. And police said two Molotov cocktails were thrown at an anti-abortion organization Sunday night in a suburb of Salem, Oregon, after an unsuccessful attempt to break in.

The leak last week of a draft opinion suggesting that the U.S. Supreme Court was on course to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide sparked protests across the country, including in Madison. Demonstrations included weekend protests by abortion rights supporters outside the homes of conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices, with more planned this week.

One Molotov cocktail thrown into the Wisconsin Family Action office failed to ignite and the investigation is ongoing as to whether the second one did, the police chief said. The message “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” was spray-painted on the exterior of the building.

No one was hurt, but Barnes said had someone been in the office “it could have gone differently.”

Barnes said he was not aware of any threats to others, but he cautioned that the investigation could be lengthy.

“I do anticipate we will be able to solve this but we want to take our time to be sure we do it correctly,” he said.

Investigators from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting with the investigation. Barnes encouraged anyone who may have seen anything to contact police. Area businesses were also being contacted to see if they have any evidence or captured anything on surveillance cameras, he said.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is up for reelection in November, decried the attack Monday when asked about it at a groundbreaking event in a Madison suburb.

“It was a horrible, horrible incident,” Evers said, adding that whoever is responsible “should be arrested and put on trial. This is unacceptable.”

“Violence does not solve the issues we’re facing as a country,” Evers said.

The president of the lobbying group, Julaine Appling, said she believed the vandalism was a direct response to the leak of the court’s draft opinion. She said “this attack fails to frighten us, and instead steels the resolve of law-abiding, common-sense, every-day folks to stand up and push back.”

Wisconsin Family Action has been a prominent force in the state for years, advocating for laws to limit access to abortions, fighting to overturn Roe v. Wade and working on numerous other hot-button social issues.

Politicians from both parties swiftly condemned the vandalism.

Clinics that perform abortions have sometimes been targeted by vandals, too, including as recently as January when a Planned Parenthood clinic in Tennessee was hit by arson.

___

Associated Press writer Todd Richmond contributed to this report.

___

The story has been updated to correct that the fire at anti-abortion organization in Oregon was Sunday night.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Lina Khan, nominee for Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, speaks during a Senate ...
Associated Press

Ruling could dampen government efforts to rein in Big Tech

The Supreme Court’s latest climate change ruling could dampen efforts by federal agencies to rein in the tech industry, which went largely unregulated for decades as the government tried to catch up to changes wrought by the internet. In the 6-3 decision that was narrowly tailored to the Environmental Protection Agency, the court ruled Thursday […]
5 hours ago
In this photo provided by the Luhansk region military administration, damaged residential buildings...
Associated Press

Russia claims capture of pivotal city in eastern Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s defense minister said Russian forces took control Sunday of the last major Ukrainian-held city in Ukraine’s Luhansk province, bringing Moscow closer to its stated goal of seizing all of Ukraine’s Donbas region. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin that Russia’s troops together with members of a local separatist […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

North Texas shooter kills 2, wounds 3 cops, takes own life

HALTOM CITY, Texas (AP) — A gunman killed two people and wounded four others, including three police officers, before taking his own life Saturday evening in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, police said. Haltom City Police Det. Matt Spillane said early Sunday that all of those wounded in the shooting in a residential neighborhood had non-life […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 file photo, Associated Press Special Regional Correspondent f...
Associated Press

Hope and despair: Kathy Gannon on 35 years in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan policeman opened fire on us with his AK-47, emptying 26 bullets into the back of the car. Seven slammed into me, and at least as many into my colleague, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus. She died at my side. Anja weighed heavy against my shoulder. I tried to look […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 file photo, the logo of Google is displayed on a carpet at the...
Associated Press

Google to erase more location info as abortion bans expand

Google will automatically purge information about users who visit abortion clinics or other places that could trigger legal problems now that the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door for states to ban the termination of pregnancies.
1 day ago
FILE - President Joe Biden, center, meets with South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and Jap...
Associated Press

North Korea slams US-South Korea-Japan military cooperation

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Sunday slammed the United States, South Korea and Japan for pushing to boost their trilateral military cooperation targeting the North, warning that the move is prompting urgent calls for the country to reinforce its military capability. North Korea has long cited what it calls hostility by the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Wisconsin anti-abortion office fire investigation ongoing