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Report: Group claims credit for Madison anti-abortion office attack, warns of more

arson at pro-life building in madison marcus aarsvold.jpeg
Posted at 11:45 AM, May 11, 2022

MADISON (NBC 26) — A group has reportedly claimed credit for the weekend attack on the office of an anti-abortion organization in Madison, according to NBC15.

NBC15 cites a series of tweets from Bellingcat’s Robert Evans who reported receiving a statement from a group called Jane’s Revenge, in which the organization took credit for the suspected arson.

Jane’s Revenge went on to threaten increasingly violent attacks that extend beyond the Wisconsin capital, if its demands are not met, writing, “Wisconsin is the first flashpoint, but we are all over the U.S., and we will issue no further warnings.”

Evans writes for Bellingcat, which is based in the Netherlands and describes itself as a collective of researchers and open-source journalists.

NBC15 News has not independently verified the contents of Evans’ tweets and says it's working to do so. The Madison Police Dept. stated it was aware that a group had claimed responsibility and that it was working with federal investigators to determine if the claim is true. The police department would not confirm if that group was Jane’s Revenge.

Evans did not say who delivered the statement to him, only that it came through “an anonymous intermediary I trust” and provided a link to the site where it was hosted.

According to the report from NBC15, the organization described the attack on the Wisconsin Family Action center as “only a warning” and issued an ultimatum. Images of the statement posted by Evans show the group demands “all anti-choice establishments, fake clinics and violent anti-choice groups” disband within 30 days.

Warning of increasingly violent acts, the statement justifies its further threatened activity by juxtaposing its threats against previous attacks by anti-abortion groups against abortion clinics and doctors.

“And we will not stop, we will not back down, nor will we hesitate to strike until the inalienable right to manage our own health is returned to us,” the statement read.

Evans added that he felt the statement should be reported for multiple reasons, including the repeated claims that the attack may have been a false flag operation, where pro-life activists would have staged the incident to turn public opinion against their political opponents.

“I would be very surprised if this was not a legitimate attack,” he concluded at the end of his thread.

NBC15 has a copy of the full statement.

No arrests have been made in the suspected arson during the weekend at the office of the anti-abortion group, police said Monday. A fire broke out at the office and a Molotov cocktail was found. Police say a spray-painted a message also was found inside the Wisconsin Family Action headquarters. Madison police spokeswoman Stephanie Fryer told the Wisconsin State Journal that the fire was reported shortly after 6 a.m. Sunday.

While police have not confirmed who vandalized the office, the message “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” was spray-painted on the building. The lobbying group's president, Julaine Appling, said she considers the fire a “direct threat” given that it happened just a few days after a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion was leaked that suggested the court may soon overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

This story contains content from the Associated Press and content originally published by Nick Viviani of WMTV in Madison.