On Sunday, January 1st, the American Family Planning clinic in Pensacola, Florida burnt nearly to the ground. Although no one was injured, the fire destroyed the majority of the building.
The clinic is owned by Dr. Steven Brigham, who also owns clinics in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Maryland. Brigham was arrested on Wednesday, December 28, in New Jersey for allegedly killing viable two fetuses. Dr. Nicola Riley was also arrested on similar charges in Salt Lake City. Both doctors were indicted by a grand jury in Cecil County, Maryland and await extradition hearings in Maryland. Pensacola Police Chief Chip Simmons indicated that it “would be an understatement” to call the fire suspicious,” CNN reports.
The Pensacola clinic site has experienced numerous incidents of violence throughout its history. In 1984, the clinic, which was known as the Ladies Center at the time under previous ownership, was bombed on June 25 and on Christmas day, when it was totally destroyed. The clinic was also invaded in 1986 and several anti-abortion extremists were arrested and given prison sentences. Additionally, in 1994, Dr. John Britton and James Barrett, a clinic escort, were murdered by anti-abortion extremist Paul Hill outside the clinic. Hill later received the death penalty for his role in the killings.
FBI agents and agents from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are currently investigating the Sunday bombing.
New York Times 1/3/12; CNN 1/3/12; Philly.com 12/31/11