Police have yet to identify or arrest any suspects after the headquarters of a Wisconsin pro-life organization was set on fire Sunday and rejected the notion that the fire was an "inside job" perpetrated by the organization itself.
The office of the pro-life group Wisconsin Family Action, located in Madison, Wisconsin, was vandalized with graffiti and had Molotov cocktails thrown through a broken window.
The vandalism follows the publication of an initial draft opinion in the Supreme Court case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, where a majority of justices expressed support for the idea that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, “must be overruled.”
According to an incident report published by the Madison Police Department, “Flames were seen coming from the facility shortly after 6 a.m." The Madison Fire Department quickly extinguished the fire, and arson investigators are working to "determine an exact cause.”
“A molotov cocktail, which did not ignite, was thrown inside the building. It also appears a separate fire was started in response. Graffiti was also found at the scene. No injuries have been reported,” the report added.
The Madison Police Department provided an update on the investigation Monday, indicating that “No arrests have been made, and we do not have any suspects at this time.”
Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes told the media that “Shortly after 6 a.m. on Sunday, May 8, a passerby headed to Madison’s airport noticed flames coming from the Wisconsin Family Action office.”
“The area’s very close to the Madison Police Department’s North District and our officers arrived to the scene moments before the Madison Fire Department," Barnes said. "Our responding officers observed smoke coming from the building and a ground-level window, which had been breached. Madison Fire Department was able to put out the fire within five minutes after their response.”
Investigators “collected multiple pieces of evidence from the scene and these items were turned over to our federal partners for processing.” Barnes stressed that “as much as we wish we could be able to solve this case today, the forensic process must take time.”
In response to questions from reporters, Barnes clarified that there were two Molotov cocktails at the scene and rejected the idea that the attack was an “inside job” perpetrated by the pro-life organization.
A tweet from Wisconsin State Journal reporter Alexander Shur, posted Sunday, included pictures of the damage.
One of the pictures showed the graffiti painted on the exterior wall of the group’s headquarters, which read, “If abortions aren’t Safe then you aren’t either.” The second picture documented the conditions in the office. Books were scattered across a fire-damaged floor while the window was boarded up.
BREAKING: Somebody vandalized and allegedly threw Molotov cocktails into Wisconsin Family Action’s — an anti-abortion rights group — Madison office, writing w/ graffiti, “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.”— Alexander Shur (@AlexanderShur) May 8, 2022
Story TK pic.twitter.com/6Wfnyeh9hQ
In a statement, Wisconsin Family Action noted that “Anarchy 1312 took responsibility for the attack, leaving its logo on an outside wall.” Julaine Appling, president of the pro-life group declared the "attack fails to frighten us, and instead steels the resolve of law-abiding, common-sense, every-day folks to stand up and push back.”
“While this attack was directly provoked by the leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court in the Dobbs case earlier this week, this has far broader implications,” she added. “Apparently, the tolerance the left demands is a one-way street. Violence has become their answer to everything. This is what happens when leadership is missing or when leadership implies that violence is ok.”
Appling criticized Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ response to the attack, which she maintained “said nothing about demanding a full investigation and criminal prosecution” but instead reassured that “he’d keep supporting abortion.”
Evers took to Twitter Sunday to “condemn violence and hatred in all forms, including the actions at Wisconsin Family Action in Madison last night” and proclaim that “we reject violence against any person for disagreeing with another’s view.”
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.— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) May 8, 2022
Violence is not the way forward. Hurting others is never the answer.
At the same time, Evers vowed to “work against overturning Roe and attacks on reproductive rights by leading with empathy and compassion” and “defend what we believe with our words and our voices–in the streets, in the halls of government, and at the ballot box.”
Appling believes Sunday’s violence is a consequence of Evers’ “non-response” to violence in the Wisconsin cities of Kenosha and Milwaukee in the summer of 2020. Appling argues that because Evers “looked the other way,” “Wisconsin citizens who disagree with his policies” find themselves “extremely vulnerable to similar violence.”
"[T]oday it is Wisconsin Family Association getting Molotov cocktails tossed through broken windows and fires ignited, but tomorrow it could be anyone in our state or another state who is attacked because we disagree with a policy or action, give voice to the voiceless, or stand up for what’s right," Appling said.
“Wisconsin has had enough of this kind of terror condoned by current state and national leaders. But we are still standing. We still support freedom. We love our republic and care for our neighbors. We will repair our offices, remain on the job, and build an even stronger grassroots effort. We will not back down. We will not stop doing what we are doing. Too much is at stake.”
Tony Perkins, president of the national Christian conservative lobbying organization Family Research Council, predicted in a statement that “the Left’s violence and intimidation designed to silence the voice of Americans who stand for life will not succeed.”
"[T[he violent and illegal actions of abortion supporters only reveal the true nature of abortion to America,” Perkins argued, adding that “abortion on demand until birth unleashed violence and a culture of death.”
“Abortion is not a political issue, and it’s not even a policy issue at its core. Abortion is a profoundly moral and spiritual issue that cuts to the heart of who we are as a people,” Perkins said. “We are grateful for the unwavering leadership of Wisconsin Family Action and the dozens of family policy councils around the country that are committed to the sanctity of all human life.”
Pro-abortion activists announced their intentions to protest the possibility of overturning Roe last week. The group Ruth Sent Us organized Mother’s Day protests at Roman Catholic Churches over the weekend.
Video footage of a Sunday mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, revealed protesters dressed in "Handmaid’s Tale" costumes interrupting the liturgy. While the protesters had signs and were shouting chants at the congregation, they were escorted out and no one was hurt.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org