The headquarters of the anti-abortion group Wisconsin Family Action – a group that on their website describes itself as against abortion, same-sex marriage, gambling, and pornography, and advocates for the teaching of creation theory – was discovered on fire early Sunday morning. According to police, the fire was spotted around 6 a.m. Aside from the fire, an undetonated Molotov cocktail was found inside. Multiple graffiti was sprayed on the outside of the group’s headquarters, including the words “if abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.”
Alexander Shur of The Wisconsin State Journal tweeted a report on the incident that included photos from the scene:
BREAKING: Somebody vandalized and allegedly threw Molotov cocktails into Wisconsin Family Action’s — an anti-abortion rights group — Madison office, writing w/ graffiti, “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.”
Story TK pic.twitter.com/6Wfnyeh9hQ
— Alexander Shur (@AlexanderShur) May 8, 2022
Local investigators are attributing the blaze to arson and are working in conjunction with the Madison Police. Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling was alerted to the vandalism prior to a Mother’s Day brunch, and told Madison.com that “What you’re going to see here is a direct threat against us.”
It is a threat not taken lightly, with politicians on both sides of the aisle condemning the vandalism, including Wisconsin’s pro-choice Democratic Governor Tony Evers who in January vowed to continue his fight for women’s reproductive health care rights.
In 1849 Wisconsin banned abortion. 49 years ago, #RoevWade affirmed women’s right to choose. I’ve vetoed 9 anti-choice bills, but that's not enough. If SCOTUS overturns Roe, the 173 year old law may go into effect. We must vote to repeal this law and protect women's healthcare. pic.twitter.com/IIQZxgUICp
— Tony Evers (@Tony4WI) January 20, 2022
Still, his position in defense of Roe v. Wade didn’t prevent Evers from the public condemnation of an act he calls “violence.”
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.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) May 8, 2022
Chief Shon Barnes released a statement that asserted the police department’s belief the attack on Wisconsin Family Action was motivated by the current climate over the leaked Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. Also calling for non-violence, Chief Barnes said:
“It appears a specific non-profit that supports anti-abortion measures was targeted. Our department has and continues to support people being able to speak freely and openly about their beliefs. But we feel that any acts of violence, including the destruction of property, do not aid in any cause.”
Others weren’t so diplomatic – particularly those on the right who never miss an opportunity to weaponize or politicize an event that should unite those on the side of non-violence.
Two of the GOP gubernatorial candidates running to unseat Governor Evers in 2022 – Former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Kevin Nicholson – weighed in. Kleefisch issued a message of defiance toward those who believe in a woman’s right to choose their own reproductive destiny:
“The radicals are trying to stop us but they know we won’t be intimidated from defending life.”
For her part, Johnson reacted to the incident by calling it: “Disgusting behavior from the left.”
The Wisconsin Family Action building was empty during the attack and there are no reported injuries. Madison police are expected to give an update Monday afternoon at 2 pm.
It appears as if the anti-abortion crowd doesn’t like being attacked with the same tactics that the most radical members of their own membership have used against abortion clinics and the people who work in them who believe in freedom of choice when it comes to women’s bodies.
Original reporting by Alexander Shur at Madison.com.
Read the “values” of Wisconsin Family Action here.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick