Photo from Flickr.com
On Wednesday, two men were charged with firebombing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa, California last March 2022. The individuals are Chance Brannon, 23, and Tibet Ergul, 21. Brannon and Ergul threw a Molotov cocktail at the entrance of the Planned Parenthood clinic prior to its opening on March 13, 2022, which then caused around 30 appointments that same day to be canceled. Nobody was harmed during the incident.
In January, the FBI offered a $25,000 reward to those who could provide information on the incident, explaining that this tactic was “part of a national effort to bring awareness to a series of attacks and threats targeting reproductive health service facilities across the country.”
Violence at abortion clinics has been on the rise, especially after the Dobbs decision, according to the National Abortion Federation. The federation’s annual report on violence stated that there were 218 reports of death threats or threats of harm to abortion clinics in 2022, which is up from 182 threats in 2021.
According to the DOJ, Brannon and Ergul were charged with “using an explosive or fire to damage real property affecting interstate commerce.” This charge carries a maximum of 20 years in federal prison. Brannon and Ergul’s actions violate the Freedom to Access a Clinic Entrance (FACE) Act, which “prohibits violent, threatening, damaging and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain or provide reproductive health services.” The two men’s charges are associated with the illegality of arson at reproductive clinics, according to the FACE Act.
The case has not yet gone to trial, so details are unknown about Brannon and Ergul’s motives. It is also unknown if they were acting in accordance with a group condoning violence against clinics, such as the Army of God.
The Feminist Majority Foundation stands with Planned Parenthood in Costa Mesa and supports the charges against Brannon and Ergul. As violence against clinics remains on the rise, the FACE Act must continue to be upheld to defend clinic employees and patients against attacks.