The fire that destroyed the Delta Women’s Health Clinic, Baton Rouge’s only abortion facility, was ignited by a faulty air conditioner according to a statement made Thursday by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Arson had not been ruled out as a possible cause of the fire, which occurred in the early morning hours on Sunday, July 15 and caused $250,000 damage. ATF agents had been called in to investigate because the fire involved a commercial business, but were involved “especially” since the business is an abortion clinic.
Delta Women’s Health Clinic had been a target of anti-choice extremists for several years. Four men firebombed the clinic in 1985, causing $20,000 damage. Thousands of supporters of Operation Rescue, now called Operation Save America, rallied for week of protests in 1992 that resulted in 61 arrests.