AMHERST, NY (AP) — Police are investigating a fire at an anti-abortion center early Tuesday as arson.
The fire was reported around 3 a.m. and rendered the building temporarily unusable, said CompassCare chief executive Jim Harden.
“Essentially, they bombed the operation,” Harden said. “They broke the two main windows in the reception and nurse’s office and lit the fires.”
Amherst’s police news announcing the investigation contained no suspected motive. The FBI declined to comment on whether it was involved in the arson investigation.
Harden said someone had scribbled “Jane was here” on the medical building in suburban Buffalo, which he said referred to an abortion rights group known as Jane’s Revenge.
“This is the face of abortion,” Harden said at a news conference. “They reveal it to us.”
Harden said the center provides free health care to women and encourages them to seek alternatives to abortion. The Buffalo office serves about 20 patients each week, he said.
Services will resume on Wednesday at an undisclosed location, he said.
The Rochester-based organization has increased security at its Rochester and Albany sites, Harden said. On its website, the center said it and others like it have faced online and personal threats in recent weeks after the leak of draft advisory that suggests the U.S. Supreme Court is on the brink of overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case. , which legalized abortion nationwide.
The center warned police and the FBI of concerns and had plans to install armored glass in Buffalo’s office, it said.
Harden called on Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul and lawmakers to condemn the violence. The state announced last month that it would give abortion providers $35 million to expand services and increase security pending the Supreme Court’s ruling. Hochul said the state must prepare for a potential influx of out-of-state patients seeking abortions from the roughly half of the US states expected to ban or severely restrict abortion if Roe is destroyed.
“We didn’t get a dime for security,” Harden said.
In an emailed statement, Hochul’s office said the governor “condemns any form of violence and state police are standing by to assist local authorities in the investigation.”
Last month, the office of a prominent anti-abortion lobby group in Wisconsin was damaged by fire after two Molotov cocktails were thrown at it. The fire at the Wisconsin Family Action office came days after two Catholic churches in Colorado, including one known for its annual anti-abortion display, were vandalized. Police said an anti-abortion organization in Salem, Oregon, was also recently damaged by two Molotov cocktails during a botched burglary attempt.
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