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FBI Investigating Firebombing at Wis. Planned Parenthood Clinic

FBI Investigating Firebombing at Wis. Planned Parenthood Clinic

April 3, 2012 — FBI is launching an investigation into an explosion Sunday evening at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wis., the Appleton Post Crescent reports (Collar, Appleton Post Crescent, 4/3).

According to local police, a homemade device was placed on a windowsill at the Appleton North Health Center and detonated around 7:30 p.m., causing a small fire. No one was injured in the incident, Reuters/Chicago Tribune reports (O'Brien, Reuters/Chicago Tribune, 4/2).

Teri Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said the clinic would reopen on Tuesday. "Women deserve safe and compassionate care and we're proud to provide it," Huyck said (Appleton Post Crescent, 4/3).

No threats were reported prior to the incident. Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, said, "Sometimes, there is an escalation in violence when abortion is just in the news." She added, "Other times, it happens when people feel frustrated."

Clinic Violence Not Uncommon

According to the Washington Post's "BlogPost," there have been three possibly abortion-related firebombings this year, following two incidents last year. Saporta said she does not think the latest attacks are indicative of a coming spike in violence in 2012. Nonetheless, violence against abortion providers "is still something we're very concerned about," she said, adding, "There are still many extremists who believe that the use of force is appropriate to intimidate abortion providers to stop providing care to women" (Flock, "BlogPost," Washington Post, 4/2).

Advocates and lawmakers from both sides of the abortion debate condemned the Wisconsin incident.

"We have to ask, 'Was the bombing meant to chill political discourse or scare the women who use the Planned Parenthood clinic for health care and the staff who work there?'" Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) said. She added, "Whatever the reason, there is no place for violence in our political process or in our society" (Appleton Post Crescent, 4/3).

Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said, "We are pleased that no one was injured in the incident," adding that the organization "remains committed ... to using compassionate and non-violent means to end the tragedy of abortion" (Reuters/Chicago Tribune, 4/2).