Wisconsin office of anti-abortion organization targeted by arson, police say

The fire and vandalism occurred at the Wisconsin Family Action office, CNN affiliate WISC reported. WFA is a political action committee that lobbies against abortion rights and same-sex marriage, according to its website.

Emergency dispatchers received a call from a passerby who saw a fire coming from an office building on Sunday morning, Madison Police Communications Supervisor Keith Johnson told CNN. Firefighters from the Madison Fire Department were called to the building around 6 a.m. and were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, officials said. No injuries were reported.

Fire investigators believe the blaze was intentionally started and are investigating the incident as arson, the fire department said.
A Molotov cocktail, which did not ignite, was thrown inside the building, Madison police said in an incident report. It appears a separate fire was started, police said, and graffiti was also found at the scene.
An image from WISC shows the graffiti written on the office wall: “If abortions aren’t safe, then neither are you.”
In a statement, Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said the WFA appeared to have been targeted because of their beliefs. He said federal agencies have been notified of the incident and are working with Madison Police and Fire Department in the investigation.

“Our department has and continues to help people speak freely and openly about their beliefs. But we believe that any act of violence, including the destruction of property, does not help any cause,” Barnes said. “We have notified our federal partners of this incident and are working with them and the Madison Fire Department as we investigate this arson.”

WFA president responds to vandalism

WFA President Juliane Appling told CNN she was attending a Mother’s Day brunch at her church around 7:45 a.m. Sunday when she received a call from management at her office building, which said the WFA office had been broken into.

Appling said she was told that a few of what she describes as Molotov cocktails were thrown through several windows in the space, which started a small fire.

Graffiti was found spray-painted outside the building, where WFA rents space, she said.

“The irony of what happens on Mother’s Day is very poignant,” Appling said.

The WFA has not received any indication of a specific threat leading up to Sunday morning’s incident, it said.

“I pray this doesn’t happen to anyone else, it has to stop now,” Appling said.

The Supreme Court’s draft opinion leaked last week

The alleged arson comes days after Politico released a Supreme Court majority draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that the constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion.

The opinion would be the most consequential abortion ruling in decades and would transform the landscape of women’s reproductive health in America. The final opinion in the case – Dobbs v. Jackson, which involves a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban — is not expected to be released until late June.

Law enforcement officials warn of potential violence in DC and across the country following Supreme Court's draft opinion
Law enforcement officials in Washington, DC, have braced for potential security risks posed by reactions to the leaked draft.

Late Wednesday evening, security crews began installing an 8-foot-tall non-scalable fence around parts of the Supreme Court building, and Thursday evening, crews installed concrete barriers blocking the street outside the court. .

Wisconsin is one of several states that implemented an abortion restriction prior to the Roe decision, which was never removed. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said earlier this week that the state Justice Department would not enforce the law if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, according to CNN affiliate WKOW.

CNN’s Natalie Andes contributed to this report.


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