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Planned Parenthood Clinic in Arson Case To Remain Closed Longer Than Anticipated

September 14, 2015 — Tanya Riordan, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Northern Idaho, said extensive damage sustained after an arson at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington state will keep the clinic closed for longer than previously expected, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reports (Alexander, Spokane Spokesman-Review, 9/9).

Background

The Pullman Fire Department determined that a fire earlier this month that caused serious damage to the clinic was arson. The arson followed a recent antiabortion-rights protest outside the clinic, which was spurred by a series of misleading videos targeting Planned Parenthood.

The videos, which depict Planned Parenthood staff discussing fetal tissue donation, were released by an antiabortion-rights group called the Center for Medical Progress. A report Planned Parenthood submitted to Congress in August confirmed that the videos were manipulated, making them unreliable for official inquiries into the organization. Meanwhile, supporters of Planned Parenthood said the videos are part of a decades-long campaign against the organization.

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Riordan said while the clinic will remain closed longer than anticipated, Planned Parenthood hopes to select a temporary site right away. According to the Spokesman-Review, the clinic's staff dispersed birth control and scheduled appointments Thursday in the clinic's parking lot.

Meanwhile, investigators still do not yet have any suspects identified, but they have collected surveillance footage of a flammable object being thrown in a clinic window. Police spokesperson Chris Tennant did not describe the object depicted on the surveillance video, but he noted, "This was definitely human caused and they used some type of accelerant."

According to the Spokesman-Review, the local police and fire department are investigating the case along with a federal terrorism task force (Spokane Spokesman-Review, 9/9).