November 23, 2016

FBI investigating suspected arson at anti-abortion group’s offices

The offices of a local anti-abortion organization were the site of an overnight fire Tuesday night.

The FBI says they are investigating the cause of the fire at the offices of Project Defending Life and urging anyone with details to call a hotline.

Project Defending Life said on Facebook the FBI “confirmed this was an act of arson.”

NM Political Report called an FBI spokesman and if we receive a response, will add it to this story. The Albuquerque Journal reported the FBI was investigating a suspected arson, and KOB-TV report a spokesman said it was deliberately set.

The organization says the offices will be closed while repairs happen.

The organization says “it has been confirmed that they set two fires within the facility.” One was in the chapel, which was destroyed, and the other in the foyer.

Respect New Mexico Women, a group that supports abortion rights, condemned the attack.

“The report of arson against Project Defending Life is unwelcome news today,” the group said in a statement. “We are compelled to speak out against violence of any kind, even when directed at those who may share different values and beliefs.”

The Albuquerque Fire Department initially said the fire was in the Planned Parenthood offices, which are across the street.

AFD said the fire was reported at 12:32 a.m. and crews extinguished the small fire quickly.

The FBI asked those with any information to call 505-889-1300.

Abortion clinics themselves have been the site of arson in New Mexico.

In 2007, two people set fire to a clinic run by Dr. Curtis Boyd. Boyd now runs Southwest Women’s Options. Also in 2007, arsonists set a Planned Parenthood clinic on fire in Albuquerque. That facility provides surgical abortion procedures. Another Planned Parenthood clinic that doesn’t provide these had its windows smashed that same night.

AFD also said another fire Tuesday night, at The Carlisle, is under investigation, though they do not believe the two fires are connected.