Pro-abortion vandals targeted a pro-life group's office in Madison, Wisconsin early Sunday, where a fire broke out and a Molotov cocktail was found by authorities.
Madison police spokeswoman Stephanie Fryer told the Wisconsin State Journal that the fire was reported shortly after 6:00 a.m. Sunday at the Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) office in Madison was suspicious in nature.
Federal officials and the Madison Fire Department are helping with the investigation.
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No one was injured, and officials were still working to determine how much damage the fire caused.
Photos and video from the scene showed shattered windows, a charred part of one wall burned books, and other items strewn on the floor.
More photos from the scene: pic.twitter.com/XlgEiZLrno
— Alexander Shur (@AlexanderShur) May 8, 2022
The suspected arson against the WFA office came just one day after rallies took place in Madison and Milwaukee protesting the leak of the Supreme Court's draft opinion, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. The document signaled that five conservative justices were leaning toward overturning Roe v. Wade, sending the decision about abortion laws back to state legislatures, instead of being enshrined in federal law.
WFA said in a press release that its office was attacked by a leftist anarchist group that broke windows and threw two Molotov cocktails into the office lighting a fire.
The vandals also painted graffiti on the outside of the building near the group's office. The message was, "If abortions aren't safe, then you aren't either."
Anarchy 1312 took responsibility for the attack, also leaving its logo in black paint on an outside wall.
WFA President Julaine Appling said in a statement she considers the fire a "direct threat against us" given that it happened just a few days after a draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion was leaked suggesting the court may soon overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that forced every state to allow abortions. She said people could have been hurt if they had been working in the office at the time.
Appling said her group won't be intimidated by the vandalism.
"But this attack fails to frighten us and instead steels the resolve of law-abiding, common-sense, everyday folks to stand up and push back. We know today it is Wisconsin Family Action 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," she continued.
"Americans see through the hypocrisy of the left. The violence needs to stop and stop now. It's not the answer to any question or any problem. Just because the liberals don't get their way, doesn't give them license to threaten bodily harm or to burn and destroy," 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," she explained.
Responding to the news of the vandalism, Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evans tweeted, "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. Violence is not the way forward. Hurting others is never the answer."
Appling criticized Evers' statement, harkening back to the 2020 protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Milwaukee police officers, saying, "Evers basically looked the other way when violence erupted in Kenosha and Madison. That kind of non-response fosters what happened to us this morning, leaving Wisconsin citizens who disagree with his policies extremely vulnerable to similar violence."
"In fact, Governor Evers's response to today's incident said nothing about demanding a full investigation and criminal prosecution," the WFA president continued. "He just told his supporters he'd keep supporting abortion."
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson swiftly criticized the vandalism Sunday, saying such actions shouldn't be tolerated. "This attack is abhorrent and should be condemned by all," he said.
The White House released a statement Monday saying Biden "strongly condemns" the arson attack on the Wisconsin group.
"President Biden strongly condemns this attack and political violence of any stripe. The President has made clear throughout his time in public life that Americans have the fundamental right to express themselves under the Constitution, whatever their point of view. But that expression must be peaceful and free of violence, vandalism, or attempts to intimidate," the White House said.
Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said his department understands members of the community are feeling deep emotions due to the recent news involving the United States Supreme Court.
"Our department has and continues to support people being able to speak freely and openly about their beliefs," Barnes said in a statement. "But we feel that any acts of violence, including the destruction of property, do not aid in any cause."
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