Anti-Abortion Group After HQ Arson: 'We Will Not Back Down'

Wisconsin Family Action's offices in Madison, Wis., were vandalized, set on fire
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2022 7:44 AM CDT
Anti-Abortion Group's HQ Vandalized, Set on Fire
Graffiti is seen on the exterior of Wisconsin Family Action's offices in Madison, Wis., on Sunday.   (Alex Shur/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

With a looming final decision by the Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade as the backdrop, the pushback against anti-abortion legislation is ramping up. In Wisconsin over the weekend, that defiance took the form of vandalism and arson at the offices of an anti-abortion group, which issued its own defiant statement afterward that it "will not back down" from its mission. Police and Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, say someone set the group's Madison headquarters on fire early Sunday, with reporting that the outside of the building was also graffitied with an anarchy symbol, the number 1312 (an anti-police reference), and the words "if abortions aren't safe then you aren't either."

Police say someone also threw a Molotov cocktail inside the building, though it didn't ignite (the fire was apparently started separately). Windows were broken, and a wall and carpeting were damaged by the fire, which local firefighters quickly got under control, reports the New York Times. Per WKOW, WFA says a group called Anarchy 1312 was responsible for the attack. "There's nothing we have done to warrant this," Appling tells the Times. "We ought to be able to take different sides on issues without fearing for our lives. Had anybody been in the office, they would have, at a minimum, been hurt."

Police, Wisconsin government officials—including GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, as well as Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Gov. Tony Evers, both Democrats—and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin are also decrying the incident. "We condemn all forms of violence and hatred within our communities," says Tanya Atkinson, who heads up the latter group. WFA, for its part, says it's not scared and that it's going to fix up its offices and keep standing up "for what's right," according to its statement. "We will not back down," WFA notes, per WKOW. "We will not stop doing what we are doing. Too much is at stake." An investigation is ongoing, with the Madison Police Department, Madison Fire Department, and federal investigators all in the loop. (More anti-abortion movement stories.)

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