On Sunday morning in Madison, Wisconsin, the office of a conservative political organization that advocates against abortion rights was vandalized and damaged by fire, which police are investigating as arson.
The fire and vandalism occurred at the Wisconsin Family Action office, according to CNN affiliate WISC. According to its website, WFA is a political action committee that advocates against abortion rights and same-sex marriage.
On Sunday morning, emergency dispatchers received a call from a passerby who saw fire coming from an office building, according to Madison Police communications supervisor Keith Johnson. Officials said Madison Fire Department firefighters were called to the building around 6 a.m. and were quickly able to put out the fire. There were no reported injuries.
According to the fire department, fire investigators believe the fire was intentionally started and are investigating the incident as arson.
According to a police report, a Molotov cocktail that did not ignite was thrown inside the building. According to police, a separate fire appears to have been started, and graffiti was also discovered at the scene.
An image from WISC shows graffiti written on the office wall: “If abortions aren’t safe, then neither are you.”
Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said in a statement that WFA appeared to have been targeted because of its beliefs. He stated that federal agencies have been notified of the incident and are assisting the Madison police and fire departments with the investigation.
“Our department has and continues to support people’s right to freely and openly express their beliefs. However, we believe that any acts of violence, including property destruction, do not help any cause “Barnes stated. “We have informed our federal partners about this incident, and we are cooperating with them and the Madison Fire Department as we investigate this arson.”
WFA President Juliane Appling told CNN that she was at a Mother’s Day brunch at her church around 7:45 a.m. Sunday when she received a call from the management of her office building, informing her that the WFA office had been broken into. Appling claims she was told a couple of Molotov cocktails were thrown through several windows in the space, sparking a small fire.
Graffiti was discovered spray-painted on the outside of the building where WFA leases space, according to her.
“It’s ironic that this is happening on Mother’s Day,” Appling said.
She stated that WFA had received no indication of any specific threat prior to the incident on Sunday morning.
“I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else; this has to stop right now,” Appling said.
The alleged arson occurred just days after Politico published a draft of a Supreme Court majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that the constitution protects a woman’s right to abortion.
The decision would be the most significant abortion decision in decades, and it would change the landscape of women’s reproductive health in America. The decision in the case, Dobbs v. Jackson, which involves a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, is not expected until late June.
Law enforcement officials in Washington, DC, were bracing for potential security threats posed by the leaked draft.
Security crews began installing an 8-foot-tall, non-scalable fence around parts of the Supreme Court building late Wednesday night, and crews set up concrete barriers blocking the street in front of the court Thursday night.
Wisconsin is one of several states that had an abortion restriction in place prior to the Roe decision that was never lifted. According to CNN affiliate WKOW, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said earlier this week that if the Supreme Court overturned Roe, the state’s Department of Justice would not enforce the law.