ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A pro-life pregnancy center in New Mexico was significantly damaged by fire on Wednesday in an act that fire officials are calling intentional arson.
The Albuquerque Fire Department has confirmed that several fires were set inside of Project Defending Life, also known as Women’s Pregnancy Options, sometime after midnight on Wednesday. The center is across the street from a Planned Parenthood facility and just a few miles from the late-term abortion facility Southwestern Women’s Options.
The arsonist, who has not yet been identified, set a fire in the building’s Roman Catholic chapel, as well as a meeting room. Photographs of the damage show a smashed window, a charred pew, burnt literature and blackened walls and ceilings.
The center is closed until further notice, but pro-life supporters are looking into the possibility of obtaining a mobile pregnancy care unit in the meantime.
“Project Defending Life and our ministry Women’s Pregnancy Options is deeply troubled by today’s events,” Dominique Davis, director of Client Services for Women’s Pregnancy Options, said in a statement. “We are extremely grateful that no one was hurt.”
“While this intentional evil act was meant to scare us and inhibit us from doing our work, those who committed this crime can be assured it has not,” she said. “There are still many women in need of assistance and support, not including the 15 women we are currently helping with housing, job placement, and parenting support. While our building may be finished, we are not, and we will find another place to set up.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is now looking into the matter.
Pro-life groups are decrying the violence.
“We are disgusted by this hate crime committed against Project Defending Life, a peaceful organization whose only aim is to help women facing unplanned pregnancies, and we are so thankful that no one was injured,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement.
“The domestic terrorists who committed this heinous act must be found and brought to justice,” she said. “Violence has no place in our society, regardless of whether it is committed upon the most defenseless pre-born child or a peaceful pro-life office.”
The pro-abortion group Respect New Mexico Women has also released a statement condemning the arson.
“We are compelled to speak out against violence of any kind, even when directed at those who may share different values and beliefs,” it reads. “Now more than ever our communities must provide strength and comfort. Respect New Mexico Women offers Project Defending Life positive thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”