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

The fire and vandalism occurred at the office of Wisconsin Family Action, authorities said at a news conference Monday. WFA is a political action committee that lobbies against abortion rights and same-sex marriage, according to its website.

“There is no place for hate or violence in Madison,” Barnes said. “Hate and violence don’t advance any cause. We expect to live in a safe community. We don’t expect these things to happen in Madison.”

No suspects have been arrested, he said.

Emergency dispatchers received a call from a passerby who saw a fire coming from an office building, Madison Police Communications Supervisor Keith Johnson told CNN. Madison firefighters 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.

Barnes said Monday that two Molotov cocktails, which did not ignite, were found inside the building. 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.”

He was joined at the press conference by representatives from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

WFA president responds to vandalism

WFA President Julaine 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 decision 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 in the wake of the Supreme Court's draft opinion
Law enforcement officials in Washington, DC, have prepared 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 in front of 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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