Physicians at Ga. Women's Clinics Suspect Fires, Burglaries Connected to Debate Over Abortion Bill

May 25, 2012 — Ob-gyns who spoke out against a controversial abortion bill (HB 954) in Georgia believe that three recent burglaries and two fires at their offices were retaliatory crimes committed by antiabortion-rights activists, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) earlier this month signed a law that prohibits most abortion care after 20 weeks of pregnancy. During debate over the bill, the physicians visited the Capitol to tell lawmakers that it could prevent them from treating pregnant women who have difficult pregnancies. None of the physicians who were victims of the crimes provide abortion care.

The fires occurred at an Atlanta Gynecology and Obstetrics office on Sunday and a Marietta abortion clinic on Wednesday. There also were burglaries at the Atlanta Gynecology and Obstetrics office in January and Atlanta Women's Health Group and the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society in March.

The most recent fire in Marietta was the most "brazen," taking place while the clinic was open, according to the Journal-Constitution. Employees said they saw two men climb stairs into the building and quickly leave, just before the fire was detected.

Firefighters, police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating the incidents. Authorities have not determined whether the crimes are connected or what the motives were (Simmons, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/23).