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Authorities investigating fire at Wisconsin anti-abortion group as arson

May 9 (UPI) -- Authorities in Wisconsin said they are investigating a fire at the Madison office of a Christian anti-abortion group as a targeted attack.

The fire, located in an office building in the 2700 block of International Lane in north Madison, was reported to the city's fire department just after 6 a.m. Sunday and was promptly put out by firefighters, Public Information Officer Cynthia Schuster said.

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No one was injured in the fire, which is under criminal investigation.

"Fire investigators believe this fire was intentionally set and the incident is being investigated as an arson," Schuster said in a statement, adding the investigation is being jointly conducted by the city's police and fire departments.

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Madison police chief Shon Barnes identified the suspected target in a statement as a "non-profit that supports anti abortion measures."

Federal authorities have been notified, he said.

Wisconsin Family Action said its office was the target of the attack, stating two Molotov cocktails were thrown into its Madison office after its windows were broken. Graffiti was also scrawled on the side of its building, reading "If abortions aren't safe, then you aren't either," the Wisconsin Christian lobby group said.

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The fire occurred less than a week after a Supreme Court draft decision overturning the landmark abortion ruling in Roe vs. Wade that made abortion a federal constitutional right was leaked to the public.

Juliane Appling, president of the lobby group, said the attack on their building was "directly provoked" by the leaked opinion.

"We will repair our offices, remain on the job and build an even stronger grassroots effort," she said. "We will not back down. We will not stop doing what we are doing. Too much is at stake."

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Gov. Tony Evers issued a statement condemning the attack on the organization, stating "we reject violence against any person for disagreeing with another's view."

"Violence is not the way forward," the Democratic governor said. "Hurting others is never the answer."

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson also condemned the attack, which he called "abhorrent" on Twitter.

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