A homemade bomb exploded and caused a small fire last night at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wis. – the second attack on an abortion clinic in 2012.
Authorities say the device, fashioned from a plastic bottle filled with incendiary chemicals, was placed on a windowsill at the clinic. It went off at about 7:30 p.m., causing a small fire that damaged an examination room before burning itself out. No injuries have been reported.
This latest attack comes amid a heated national debate over women’s health care issues, revolving around insurance coverage for birth control and a spate of proposals pushed by state lawmakers to make obtaining an abortion more onerous.
On Jan. 1, the American Family Planning Clinic in Pensacola, Fla. – a target of anti-abortion violence for nearly three decades – was firebombed for the second time in its history. In February, a grand jury indicted Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, for the firebombing, which destroyed the clinic.
Wisconsin, too, has seen its share of anti-abortion extremism. A federal jury last week charged Ralph Lang with civil rights and gun crimes in connection with a foiled attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison. Lang, 63, was arrested in May 2011 after accidentally shooting a pistol through the door of his Madison hotel room. According to a police affidavit, he said he wanted to “lay out abortionists because they are killing babies,” and “line [the clinic workers] all up in a row, get a machine gun, and mow them all down.”
Lang faces state charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and federal charges of attempting to injure, intimidate and interfere with persons participating in a program and activity receiving federal financial assistance, and for using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
At least eight people – four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard and an escort – have been killed in anti-abortion violence in the U.S. According to a 2009 report by the National Abortion Federation, there have been 17 attempted murders, 418 death threats, 188 incidents of assault or battery, and four kidnappings committed against abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada since 1977.