Arson suspected at Illinois Planned Parenthood after state expands abortion rights

Authorities are investigating a suspected arson attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in central Illinois just two days after sweeping protections for abortion rights in the

state were signed into law. Police are searching for an unknown suspect who was reported “throwing a molotov cocktail” from a pickup truck at a Planned Parenthood

facility in Peoria, Ill., at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, police spokesperson Semone Roth told WLS in Chicago. Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of

Illinois, said in a statement that while authorities were able to contain the fire to one room and extinguish the blaze, the building suffered “significant damage.” Police

confirmed this week that the preliminary cause of the fire was arson. “Senseless acts of vandalism have been on the rise across the country and Illinois has become a

target as extreme and divisive rhetoric increases,” Welch said. No patients or staff were inside the building at the time of the fire, but one firefighter suffered

injuries that were life-threatening, according to the Peoria Police Department. Planned Parenthood of Illinois announced on its website that the Peoria Health Center

“will be temporarily closed until further notice as we work to rebuild the center.” Photos of the building show windows broken out from the flames and other damaged areas boarded

up. The organization is rescheduling patients who had appointments to other health-care centers. “We appreciate your support during these challenging times,” the

announcement reads.