AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Early Tuesday morning, Amherst police responded to a fire alarm that went off at a pregnancy services clinic.
Around 3 a.m., police went to Compass Care, which is located on Eggert Road near the border of Buffalo and Amherst.
When they got there, they say the building was on fire. Multiple fire companies responded, as well as fire investigators and a K-9 team from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident, which is being investigated as arson, resulted in two firefighters suffering minor injuries.
CompassCare, which describes itself as “a pro-life medical office” says that in addition to arson, the building was also vandalized with graffiti. On the side, the words “Jane was here” could be read.
CEO James Harden believes an abortion rights group called “Jane’s Revenge” was behind the incident.
The group took responsibility for firebombing a pro-life facility in Madison, Wisconsin last month.
It’s a nod to the “Jane Collective” which provided underground abortions in Chicago in the 1960’s.
“Jane’s Revenge is this group that’s attempting to strike fear into the hearts of pro-life service organizations to keep them from providing care,” Harden said.
Harden said while he is outraged by the attack, it didn’t come as a complete shock.
Recently, Compass Care has received threats both online and in person which Harden reported to the FBI two weeks ago.
In addition to the fire damage and graffiti at the Eggert Road building, officials say there was extensive smoke damage inside.
Harden condemned the state legislature for recently passing a bill to study limited service pregnancy centers.
He also criticized Governor Hochul for recently providing $10 million for abortion clinic security and none for pro-life clinics.
A spokesperson for the Governor released this statement:
“Governor Hochul condemns violence of any kind, and the state police stand ready to assist local authorities with the investigation.”
State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt also released a statement:
“The overnight firebombing of a pro-life women’s medical office in our community is a despicable act of extremism that must be universally condemned. I’m grateful to hear that the injured firefighters are recovering and that CompassCare’s employees were not harmed. I’m thankful for the brave firefighters and members of law enforcement who responded quickly to the scene. Whoever committed this atrocity must immediately be brought to justice.
It is extremely disturbing that the state Legislature recently passed a bill specifically targeting pro-life medical offices such as this one. Additionally, it is alarming that the Governor and New York State legislature haven’t offered one dime of security or support funds for clinics like those operated by CompassCare, despite just recently providing $10 million for abortion clinic security.“
Harden says services will continue tomorrow in a new location only being disclosed to patients.
Security has been tightened at the other facilities in Rochester and Albany.
Harden said they have video from surveillance cameras which is being investigated.
He said it’ll take months to repair the hundred thousand dollars worth of damage.
If anyone has any information about the incident they’re encouraged to contact Amherst Police at (716) 689-1322.
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Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.