A fire that occurred at a Christian pregnancy clinic in Colorado is being treated as arson after chilling messages were spray painted onto the walls and ground outside.
‘If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you,’ read one. ‘Bans off our bodies’ said another by the entrance at the Life Choices Clinic in Longmont, northeast of Boulder.
The fire broke out in the middle of the night at 3:17 am on Saturday morning. Authorities believe the fire was set deliberately. No abortions are carried out at the center which aims to educate women on pregnancy
Life Choices describes itself as a ‘Christ-centered ministry providing education, support, healing, and limited medical services for sexual life choices.’
Photographs also show the front of the property daubed with graffiti and black paint. A number of phrases could be seen having been spray-painted onto the walls and concrete in the entranceway outside the building.
The building sustained fire and heavy smoke damage according to Longmont Public Safety officials.
Investigators are urging residents in the area to check their own surveillance videos in the hope of tracking down those responsible reports KDVR.
Across the country in Vermont, vandals struck at the State Capitol in Montpelier.
Windows were broken and a message was painted outside the main door, reports WCAX – ‘If abortions aren’t safe you’re not either’, it read.
The Capitol Police say the incident occurred around 2am with seven windows smashed and damaged running to the value of $25,000.
The vandalism at both locations occurred following Friday’s Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court ruling that gave women the constitutional right to abortion.
Such scenes have become familiar for providers and patients across the country over the decades since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.
At times the violence has been far more severe, including bombings, arson, and murders – from the 1993 killing of Dr. David Gunn outside a Florida abortion clinic to the 2015 fatal shooting of three people inside a Colorado Planned Parenthood.
Now providers and some in law enforcement worry about what will come next.
They’re preparing for an increase in violence now that the Supreme Court has ruled.
Historically there has been a spike when the issue of abortion gets widespread public attention, such as after a state approves new restrictions.
Now protests, harassment, and other violence may well be more concentrated and intensify in states where abortion remains legal.
In some places, local police are working with clinics to try to tamp down the potential for violence.
In Jacksonville, Florida, the sheriff’s office said last month they would station an officer outside the clinic, and police in Little Rock, Arkansas, installed a camera atop a crane near an abortion clinic that has been the site of protests, hoping to deter bad actors.
But the relationship between clinics and the local police isn’t always positive, and clinics must weigh whether having a heavy police presence will frighten patients.
A report released Friday by the foundation, which collects monthly data from more than 500 members on harassment and violence, showed a spike in some incidents last year, including invasions of clinics, vandalism, assaults, burglaries, stalking, and hate emails or internet harassment.
Picketing and other types of incidents declined compared to 2020, but the number of incidents in all categories in 2021 exceeded the number in 2016, the year Donald Trump was elected president.
Providers in the United States, Canada, Colombia, and Mexico City reported nine bomb threats last year, up from five in 2020, and the same number as in 2016, according to data from the National Abortion Federation.
But reports of suspicious packages or hoax devices jumped from 29 in 2016 to 71 last year. More than 90% of the providers reporting were in the U.S.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America said there were more than 40 incidents of violence, intimidation and vandalism at pregnancy centers and churches in recent weeks.