The Madison-based anti-abortion group Wisconsin Family Action was targeted for arson and vandalism early Sunday morning. There were no reported injuries from the incident.
According to the Madison Police Department, two Molotov cocktails were thrown into the office building on the city’s north side, with neat cursive graffiti on the outside of the building reading “if abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.” Madison police say the Molotov cocktails did not ignite, but a separate fire was started in the office.
The Madison Fire Department was able to extinguish the flames within five minutes of their arrival. Regardless, photos from the office show fire damage on the wall around the window and on the floor. Books and papers were thrown around the office
The nonprofit conservative group says that their mission is to quote “Defend God’s plan for marriage, family, life, and religious freedom in the state of Wisconsin,” end quote.
In an update today, Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes says the incident is still being investigated by both the Madison Police Department, the FBI, and the ATF. Barnes strongly condemned the incident, regardless of the sentiment behind it.
“There is no place in Madison for hate speech for any type of violence or property destruction to further any cause. If you are thinking about doing something like that, I would recommend that you would not. It doesn’t look good for your cause, it doesn’t look good for our community, and it’s not what we expect. One of the things I really like about Madison is that we expect to live in a safe community, we don’t expect these kinds of things to happen,” Barnes says.
Theories flurried online, alleging that it was a false flag operation. Barnes says those claims are spurious.
“I have no indication that this was an inside job. The person who owns the building was not there at the time, and so I don’t know. There’s always going to be conspiracy theories around these sorts of things, but I can tell you that there is no place in Madison, or anywhere else, for this, because it could have gone differently if someone had been there. So no, I have no information that that is true at all,” Barnes says.
Barnes says that the department is still collecting forensic evidence. No arrests have been made and police currently have no suspects in custody. Barnes says that he does not believe that any other groups or businesses are in danger of a similar incident.
Also this weekend was a pro-choice rally that was held at the state capitol. The rally was put on by the Socialist Feminist Collective here in Madison, to protest the apparent overturning of Roe v Wade at the US Supreme Court.
If Roe is overturned, Wisconsin would revert to an archaic law on the books that outlaws abortions. Under the 1849 law, abortion providers would be charged with a felony, liable to be charged with up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Activists called for that law to be overturned at Saturday’s rally, saying that Wisconsin residents already have too many barriers to abortion access. Lexi is with the Women’s Medical Fund of Wisconsin, a nonprofit dedicated to providing funding and access to women seeking an abortion.
“The barriers will only increase if Roe v Wade falls and we lose legal access in Wisconsin. The people most affected are people of color, people experiencing financial hardship, people who face documentation barriers, and transgender and gender nonconforming people,” Lexi says.
Another rally is slated for this Saturday. That rally is also being organized by the Socialist Feminist Collective.
Photos courtesy: Chali Pittman / WORT News Team