The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday began offering rewards of up to $25,000 for information about a series of attacks on at least 10 reproductive health care facilities across the US last year, which the FBI said may constitute acts of domestic terrorism.
The Wisconsin Family Action facility in Madison, Wisconsin, was damaged by arson on May 8, 2022.
The attacks involved acts of vandalism and arson, typically from someone throwing a Molotov cocktail into a building late at night, and targeted both clinics offering abortions and “crisis pregnancy centers” that discourage abortions.
It’s not clear whether any of the attacks are related, and motives are not known, but multiple buildings were defaced with graffiti suggesting, “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either.”
Three of the attacks took place at facilities in Oregon, while individual facilities were targeted in Washington, California, North Carolina, Wisconsin, New York, Tennessee and Colorado.
The vandalism took place throughout the year, but five were clustered in the days immediately following the Supreme Court’s June 24 overturning of Roe v. Wade, which ended the nationwide right to an abortion.
No injuries were reported in the attacks.
What To Watch For
The FBI said in a statement it is reviewing the attacks for “potential acts of domestic violent extremism, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) violations, or violent crime matters.”
The reward announcement comes after authorities in Peoria, Illinois, said someone threw a Molotov cocktail into a Planned Parenthood building Sunday night.
Abortion access has long been one of the country’s most politically charged issues, but the situation reached a fever pitch after Roe was overturned in June. Thirteen states have effectively banned abortion in the nearly seven months since the Supreme Court ruling, while several other states passed tight restrictions on the procedure, and some states attempted to ban abortion but were stopped by local courts. Although statistics are not yet available for 2022, the abortion battle has grown increasingly violent over the past few years, according to data from the pro-abortion rights National Abortion Federation. Assaults on abortion clinic staff and patients jumped 128% from 2020 to 2021, while rates of burglaries, vandalism and bomb threats also increased significantly, according to the group.
Roe V. Wade Overturned: The Ultimate Explainer On What It Means (Forbes)
Assaults against abortion clinics, patients rose 128% in 2021: report (Axios)