MADISON, Wis. – Arson investigators were probing a fire Sunday inside the headquarters of anti-abortion group Wisconsin Family Action, where someone had spray-painted a message outside the building.
Madison police spokeswoman Stephanie Fryer told the Wisconsin State Journal that the fire reported shortly after 6 a.m. Sunday in Madison was suspicious in nature. No one was injured, and officials were still working to determine how much damage the fire caused.
It wasn’t immediately clear who vandalized the building, but the message “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” was spray-painted on the building.
The president of the lobbying group, Julaine Appling, said 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 legalized abortion in this country. She said people could have been hurt if they had been working in the office at the time.
“This is the local manifestation of the anger and the lack of tolerance from the pro-abortion people toward those of us who are pro-life,” Appling said.
Wisconsin politicians, including Democratic Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, swiftly criticized the vandalism Sunday.
“This attack is abhorrent and should be condemned by all,” Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tom Nelson also denounced the vandalism.
“I am committed to protecting women’s rights – but we must do it the right way,” Nelson said. “Violence and destruction are not the answer. I’m glad no one was hurt.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.