Deliberate truck attack at New Jersey Planned Parenthood clinic

A man crashed a stolen bakery truck into a Planned Parenthood clinic on Valentine’s Day in East Orange, New Jersey, injuring three people, including two staff members and a pregnant woman. 

Marckles Alcius, 31, from Lowell, Massachusetts, is charged with attempting to cause widespread injury or damage, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft, among other criminal charges. According to authorities, the stolen truck belonged to a bakery in Newark. Investigators continue to search for a motive behind the attack which authorities believe was “deliberate.”

Planned Parenthood issued a statement regarding the attack that read, “We are pleased that only minor injuries occurred.” They reported that the waiting room had received “extensive damage” and the clinic would be closed for several weeks.

“The investigations are continuing,” said Thomas S. Fennelly, the Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Essex County, New Jersey. “Additional charges are possible, but we cannot comment on a motive.”

Last week’s truck attack at the New Jersey Planned Parenthood clinic coincided with a vote to restore millions of dollars worth of government funding for health and family planning clinics by New Jersey lawmakers. On February 15, 2018 — a day after the attack — the State Assembly passed Senate Bill S120 which provides "access to preventative screenings, routine exams and low-cost birth control.” The funding had been cut by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) which forced the closure of a number of women's health centers throughout the state. Newly elected Governor Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, was endorsed by Planned Parenthood and plans to sign the bill into law, possibly as early as this week.

A review of Alcius’ Facebook page also revealed interests in other organizations promoting anti-government conspiracy theories, such as the Illuminati and New World Order, Black Nationalism, and other revolutionary propaganda.

In a court appearance on Friday, Alcius plead not guilty to the criminal charges against him. He is currently being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark. His next court appearance is scheduled for February 21, 2018.

Wednesday’s attack is the first major violent attack on an abortion clinic in the United States since 2015. In that year, Robert Dears killed three at a Planned Parenthood clinic during a shooting attack in Colorado Springs. There were also three arson incidents at abortion clinics in Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana during 2015. 

In February 2017, the Feminist Majority Foundation released the results of their 2016 National Clinic Violence Survey. They reported that threats and violent acts against abortion clinics is the highest it’s been over the past 20 years. For example, the report cited “34.2 percent of U.S. abortion providers reported ‘severe violence or threats of violence’ in the first half of 2016.” Further, in 2015, “U.S. abortion providers were targeted in three murders, nine attempted murders, and 94 reports of death threats, according to National Abortion Federation President Vickie Saporta. “The numbers briefly ‘leveled out’ in 2016,” she said.

Kessler falls flat in D.C., but the radical right marches on