Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 23, 2023
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — More than eight months after Wisconsin Family Council/Action’s Madison headquarters was firebombed by pro-abortion extremists, the FBI is now offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the “identification, arrest, and conviction” of the individuals involved in the attack.
“It’s about time,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Council/Action, a pro-life organization that advocates for religious liberty and traditional family values. “They literally upped the ante to find the perpetrators, not just in our attack, but at sites around the country.”
Word of the FBI’s bounty spread Friday as the pro-life movement celebrated its annual March for Life on Washington, D.C., months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling ended what this year would have been 50 years of Roe v. Wade and its federal abortion protections. The decision leaves it to states decide abortion law.
Wisconsin Family Council/Action was the first attacked by what appears to be pro-abortion activists, on May 8, Mother’s Day, in the days following a leak of a draft of the Dobbs decision to Politico.
The pro-abortion extremist group Jane’s Revenge took credit for the fire-bombing in which unknown suspects allegedly tossed Molotov cocktails into the windows and set fire to Appling’s office. Jane’s Revenge warned there would be more attacks on pro-life organizations across the country unless “all anti-choice establishments, fake clinics and violent anti-choice groups” were closed “within the next 30 days.”
Suspects scrawled a chilling message on an exterior wall of the Madison offices: “If abortions aren’t safe, you’re not either.”
The group went on to claim responsibility for many more attacks. The Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council,a pro-marriage and pro-life organization, asserts there had been at least 122 attacks or threats made against abortion opponents between the leak and the beginning of November.
There have been at least five fire bombings of crisis pregnancy centers and 47 incidents in which such facilities had been vandalized, according to the Family Research Council. The organization also reported property damage connected to three members of congress, and demonstrators have been assaulted, as have police monitoring pro-abortion rallies.
Wisconsin’s Republican House delegation last year called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to launch a federal investigation into the attack on Wisconsin Family Action’s Madison office. The letter to Garland was a stern rebuke of the liberal politicization of the Attorney General’s office.
“Rather than focusing on defusing threats against Americans for their political beliefs, the Department of Justice has, in the last 17 months, spent time and resources to target conservatives while taking a hands-off approach to left-wing violence,” the letter states. “The arson of Wisconsin Family Values’ office in Madison must be investigated thoroughly and Attorney General Garland must put partisanship aside to put a stop to these pro-abortion extremists, who have already promised more violence if their demands are not met.”
Pro-life centers have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of arrests — or even movement — in the investigations.
“It is naïve to think the best law enforcement agency in the world doesn’t know who is perpetrating these attacks,” CompassCare Pregnancy Services President James Harden told Newsweek.
Harden’s clinic in Buffalo, New York, was firebombed on June 7, resulting in $530,000 in damage and two injured firefighters in one of the most serious attacks.
Appling said she met this week with members of the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism squad and the Madison Police Department detective assigned to the case. Per usual, they had no new information to report, Appling said, although the Madison detective assured her the matter remains an ongoing investigation.
Appling said she wonders if anyone will ever be held accountable.
“The longer we go without an arrest, they (the perpetrators) figure that no one is going to get caught, be held accountable, nobody is going to pay the price,” she said.
Appling and other pro-life activists have been living under the threat of repeated violence. Jane’s Revenge and their extremist allies have shown they can strike at any time.
But Appling said Wisconsin Family Council/Action will not be bullied or intimidated into silence.
“We’re not going to live in fear, because our message is not wrong, it’s right,” she said.