Authorities confirmed that two Molotov cocktails were used to firebomb the offices of a prominent Wisconsin anti-abortion lobbying group over the weekend.
During the attack, vandals also spray painted the walls with the chilling message: ‘If abortions aren’t safe you aren’t either.’
No one has been arrested and there are no suspects in custody in the fire that was discovered early Sunday morning.
It was spotted when someone driving to Madison’s nearby airport noticed flames coming from the office building that is home to Wisconsin Family Action, Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said at a news conference on Monday.
Barnes added that there is no evidence that this act was an ‘inside job.’
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, although a room at the foundation was badly-damaged by fire.
Wisconsin Family Action is a non-profit organization that supports pro-life measures.
The attack comes just days after a leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion revealed that the court may overturn the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion across the country.
The damage was discovered on Mother’s Day morning when a passerby called police and reported seeing smoke coming from the headquarters of the anti-abortion group
Vandals hurled at least one Molotov cocktail into offices of an anti-abortion group Wisconsin Family Action in Madison, Wisconsin, this weekend, and scrawled a chilling message on the wall that read: ‘If abortions aren’t safe you aren’t either’
No one has been arrested and there are no suspects in custody in the fire that was discovered early Sunday morning, Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said Monday
Vandals also spray painted the message ‘If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either’ on the exterior of the building.
The Antifa symbol – a capital ‘A’ inside a circle – was also scrawled on the wall, as well as the numbers 1312 – a code for the letters ACAB, which stand for ‘All Cops Are Bastards.’
No one was hurt in the attack, 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.’
Julaine Appling, president of the lobbying and advocacy organization, said the suspect ‘left their signature’ with graffiti that depicted an Antifa A
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
‘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.
The attack happened at the organization’s Madison headquarters on International Lane
Abortion rights protesters rallied in cities around the U.S. on Saturday, vowing to fight to ensure that abortion remains a legal option for women nationwide. Pro-life advocates took to the streets in opposition.
Hundreds gathered in several major cities across the nation, including Chicago, Atlanta and Houston, to fight for and against abortion legislation.
In Atlanta, demonstrators carried signs in favor of abortion rights as they marched through that city’s downtown and chanted: ‘Not the church and not the state, women must decide our fate.’
In Houston, thousands attended a reproductive rights rally headlined by Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is running for Texas governor.
Texas is one of the states that will automatically ban abortion, leaving no exceptions for rape or incest, if the high court overturns the nationwide right to abortion.
Wisconsin is also one of the states with a decades-old abortion ban predating Roe that would presumably take effect almost immediately after a formal Supreme Court reversal of the case. But even in those states, Democratic governors would have an opportunity to fight the change in their state courts.
Furious pro-choice protesters screamed ‘you don’t care if people die’ while picketing the house of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday
Protesters gathered outside Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house, screaming: ‘We will not go back!’
Protesters in DC hold signs arguing in favor of Roe v. Wade
On Saturday, furious pro-choice protesters screamed ‘you don’t care if people die’ while picketing the house of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered in the rain in DC and marched towards the homes of conservative Justices Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Images of coat hangers were chalked on the street outside the justices’ homes, an apparent attempt to reinforce the pro-choice argument that overturning Roe v. Wade will not put an end to abortion, but instead will end safe abortions.
Cops stood guard outside the justices’ homes and, after what appeared to be a clash with demonstrators, ordered the activists to leave. At least one officer threatened to arrest and charge the protesters for violating Maryland law.
The Supreme Court draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito and published by POLITICO, was leaked on Monday. The document revealed the court has voted to strike down the landmark 1973 ruling Rove v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.
Protestors across the nation started assembling just hours after the opinion was leaked. Pro-choice rallies, spearheaded by organizations like Planned Parenthood, are slated to continue the upcoming week and weekend.
Liberal group ShutDown DC already has plans to host a ‘Vigil for Abortion Rights’ outside Alito’s house on Monday.
Liberal group ShutDown DC already has plans to host a ‘Vigil for Abortion Rights’ outside of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s house on May 9
Alito’s draft does not necessarily represent the sentiments of other justices who did not pen the opinion, but it’s been suggested that the court’s 6-3 conservative supermajority, which include Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh, will likely deliver on the historic reversal.
Protestors carrying signs that read ‘An abortion saved my family’ and ‘Abortion is Healthcare, Healthcare is a right’ first arrived at Justice Roberts’ home where protestors drew multiple chalk outlines coat hangers, a famous symbol of illegal abortions.
Protestors chanted ‘Keep abortion safe and legal!’ and ‘Pro-life is a lie! You don’t care if people die!’
The protests came after the White House said it encourages ‘peaceful protests,’ would not tell abortion activists to avoid the justices’ homes.
‘The president, for all those women, men, others who feel outraged, who feel scared, who feel concerned, he hears them, he shares that concern and that horror that he saw in that draft opinion,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
She said President Joe Biden’s message to those angered by the draft is to ‘participate in peaceful protest’.
‘Ensure it’s peaceful. Have your voice heard peacefully. We should not be resorting to violence in any way, shape or form,’ Psaki added.
A woman holds a pro-abortion sign while posing for a photo next to a chalked coat hanger
Pro-abortion protestors gathered outside the homes of Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts, holding up signs and chanting ‘Keep abortion safe and legal’ before cops arrived and forced them to leave
Saturday’s protests seem to just be the start as liberal group ShutDown DC already plans to host a ‘Vigil for Abortion Rights’ outside of Alito’s house on May 9.
‘Justice Alito thinks he can take away our rights. But our rights are fundamentally ours. We’re showing up to tell him in person,’ the group said.
‘The evening of Monday, May 9, we will hold a vigil for all these rights that Alito is threatening to take away. Because it’s been impossible to reach him at the Supreme Court (especially now with the enormous fences), we will do it at his home,’ the event description said.
‘At 7:30 pm we will gather at a nearby location and walk together to his house. At the foot of his driveway, on the public street, we will light candles and speakers will share their testimony. We will hold a moment of silence for the rights we know are ours, then walk back together to the meeting location.’
In Alito’s leaked document, conservative Justice Alito wrote that Roe v Wade – the 1973 Supreme Court ruling which found that excessive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional – was ‘egregiously wrong from the start’ and ‘must be overruled’.
Alito, who was nominated to the court in 2006 by George W Bush, argues that Roe’s ‘reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. Far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.’
But there were few signs that the new ruling will do anything to heal those divisions, with protesters gathering outside the court in Washington DC last night.
If the ruling is overturned by the conservative-dominated court – with Republicans having a 6 – 3 majority – it would give individual states the power to decide on whether to ban abortion. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group, has said that 26 states are ‘certain or likely’ to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Abortion-rights protesters hold signs during demonstration outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday
Members of the Boston Red Cloaks gather near the Park street train station on Saturday as they protest the possible overturning of Roe vs. Wade. The organization is one of several that has called for nationwide protests on May 14
Abortion rights have been under threat in recent months as Republican-led states move to tighten rules – with some seeking to ban all abortions after six weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant.
These include Arizona, where the Republican Governor in March signed a bill banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy; and Idaho where the governor signed a six-week abortion ban that allows family members of the fetus to sue providers who perform abortions past that point, similar to a Texas law enacted last year.
As it stands in the US, abortion can take place until about 24 weeks into pregnancy – but the exact period varies between states. For example, Texas bans abortion after about six weeks but Florida has a 15-week abortion ban.
Next Saturday, America is expecting a ‘massive’ day of action with nationwide rallies organized by Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet, Women’s March and MoveOn.
The protest, dubbed Bans Off Our Bodies, will feature marches in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C., as well as hundreds of demonstrations in other cities across the U.S.