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Wisconsin Man Pleads Not Guilty to Firebombing Pro-Life Group’s Office

The Wisconsin man charged with firebombing the office of a Madison-based pro-life advocacy group pleaded not guilty on April 13.

Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, was arrested on March 28 in Boston on suspicion of hurling two Molotov cocktails into the Wisconsin Family Action office with the intent to “cause damage by means of fire or an explosive.”

According to the complaint (pdf), the suspect in the attack—which occurred on May 8, 2022—set fire to the pro-life organization’s office, and when police responded to the incident, they also found a message spray-painted on the outside of the building: “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either.”

DNA evidence was collected from the scene, and in March, investigators were able to match that DNA with Roychowdhury’s.

“According to the complaint, Mr. Roychowdhury used an incendiary device in violation of federal law in connection with his efforts to terrorize and intimidate a private organization,” said Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General of National Security Matthew Olsen upon Roychowdhury’s arrest.

“I commend the commitment and professionalism of law enforcement personnel who worked exhaustively to ensure that justice is served,” Olsen added.

If convicted, Roychowdhury faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Supreme Court Abortion Wisconsin
A fire damaged the Wisconsin Family Action headquarters in Madison, Wis., on May 8, 2022. (Alex Shur/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

Under Attack

The attack on Wisconsin Family Action is just one of many that have occurred since the May 2, 2022, leak of the Supreme Court’s historic Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that abortion is not a protected right under the U.S. Constitution.

According to a list compiled by the pro-life nonprofit Family Research Council, there have been more than 100 attacks on churches and pro-life organizations around the country, and at least 24 “other incidents” where pro-abortion activists were involved in assaults, vandalism, disruptive protests, and other such activities.

Further, in the wake of the firebombing of Wisconsin Family Action, the organization’s staff members received threatening voicemails from those who opposed their pro-life stance.

In one recorded voicemail shared on the organization’s website, a woman says, “Hi, I’m calling because I read about the fire in your building, and I’m calling because I’m curious if it was arson, or rather the good Lord showing you an example of hell and where you belong for being such a misogynistic [expletive].”

In another message, a man can be heard telling a staff member, “You’re going to burn as well—you’re all going to burn.”

Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling responded to the attacks on her organization in a statement, noting, “This is what happens when leadership is missing or when leadership implies that violence is an acceptable tactic to employ… But let me be clear: The violence needs to stop, and it needs to stop now. We cannot deal with political disagreements in this country by resorting to violence.”

Appling added that the attacks not only failed to intimidate her organization, they “strengthened our resolve.”

“We will repair our offices, remain on the job, and build an even stronger grassroots effort,” she said. “We will continue to work every day to give a voice to the voiceless and stand up for what’s right.

“We will not back down. Too much is at stake.”

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