Police investigating possible arson at Wisconsin anti-abortion office
Police are investigating a potential arson attack in Madison, Wis., after a fire broke out on Sunday at an anti-abortion group’s office.
The fire was reported at Wisconsin Family Action around 6 a.m., according to an incident report from Madison’s police department.
The Madison Fire Department quickly extinguished the flames. The incident is being investigated as an arson after a molotov cocktail, which police said did not ignite, was found at the scene.
Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said in a Sunday morning statement, “it appears a specific nonprofit that supports anti-abortion measures was targeted.”
“Our department has and continues to support people being able to speak freely and openly about their beliefs,” Barnes said. “But we feel that any acts of violence, including the destruction of property, do not aid in any cause.”
The attack comes after the leaking of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion last week that suggested the court’s conservative majority was ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 precedent that made abortion access a constitutional right.
The leak spurred demonstrations and protests in favor of abortion rights across the country, including activists who traveled to the homes of at least two justices in Maryland.
Wisconsin Family Action is an organization working actively against abortion with an aim to “advance Judeo-Christian principles and values in Wisconsin by strengthening, preserving, and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty,” according to its website.
Police said there were also reports of vandalism at the Wisconsin Family Action office. The words: “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” were scrawled in black paint on a wall outside the building, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tweeted that he condemns “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” Evers wrote. “Violence is not the way forward. Hurting others is never the answer.”
Wisconsin’s Republican Sen. Ron Johnson tweeted, “this attack is abhorrent and should be condemned by all.”
—Updated at 11:10 a.m.