News Violence

Kentucky’s Last Full-Time Abortion Clinic Vandalized Twice in One Month

Jenn Stanley

An unknown vandal or vandals have broken the windows of EMW Women's Surgical Center twice in less than a month.

Kentucky’s last remaining full-time abortion clinic has fallen victim to a recent wave of vandalism. Someone has broken the window at EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville twice in less than a month, according to police reports.

The first incident occurred on the night of October 26, when an unidentified man ran past protesters across the street and into the clinic’s window. After smashing the window, he calmly walked away, according to the clinic’s executive director, Anne, who chose to maintain her privacy by withholding her last name.

The second incident was caught on surveillance November 11.

“First he came there and kneeled down and prayed and talked to himself,” Anne told Insider Louisville. “And then he came back around 45 minutes later with some kind of a blanket over his head and he sat down for another minute or so, and then he stood up and threw a rock through the window. And then he walked away.”

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EMW Women’s Surgical Center has a regular anti-choice presence as the last remaining clinic in the state.

Speak for the Unborn is one of the groups that regularly protests the clinic. They wear yellow vests similar to the orange vests worn by volunteer clinic escorts in an attempt, some say, to confuse patients. The group’s director, Andrew King, told Rewire that to his knowledge, no one from Speak for the Unborn was present at the time of any alleged vandalism.

“I do not believe that the party responsible for the vandalism is affiliated with Speak for the Unborn,” King said. “We are very explicit that violence and vandalism of any kind are not tolerated in affiliation with our ministry.”

The combined damage to the clinic comes to about $1,600, according to the police report. The vandal or vandals are wanted on first- and second-degree criminal mischief.

Abortion clinics are no strangers to vandalism and violence. From 1977 to 2014, there were more than 1,500 instances of clinic vandalism, according to the National Abortion Federation. Anne told Insider Louisville that these two instances have been the only attacks on the clinic in its 20-year history.

Vandalism and arson of abortion clinics have increased in recent months. Planned Parenthood has seen an uptick in vandalism and violence since the release of the surreptitiously recorded, highly edited videos leaked by an anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which has worked closely with GOP legislators in attacking funding for the health-care organization.

Planned Parenthood health centers in Washington and California were set ablaze this fall. Amid the recent clinic violence, Anne told Insider Louisville that her clinic would not be intimidated from providing a legal service for women and standing up for reproductive rights.

“We’re not angry, we’re not afraid, we’re just really sad that the mentality out there isn’t more understanding and compassionate for women,” Anne said. “They’re not going to intimidate us.”

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