Washington Gov. Calls Decries 'Hateful Rhetoric' After Planned Parenthood Arson

by Phil Helsel /  / Updated 
Image:
Police and fire investigators stand near the Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman, Wash., after it was damaged by a fire Friday, Sept. 4, 2015.Chad Sokol / AP

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Saturday called an arson attack on a Planned Parenthood facility in the town of Pullman a "senseless act of violence" and pledged to support the health-care provider.

"It's deeply disappointing that we still see the kind of hateful rhetoric in our state that fuels this kind of violence," Inslee said in a statement, a day after the fire at the Planned Parenthood building.

Image:
Police and fire investigators stand near the Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman, Wash., after it was damaged by a fire Friday, Sept. 4, 2015.Chad Sokol / AP

The fire was discovered shortly after 3:30 a.m. local time Friday (6:30 a.m. ET) and the building suffered heavy damage.

The Pullman Fire Department, assisted by agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, later determined it had been intentionally set.

The FBI and the ATF are involved in the investigation because of the history of anti-abortion activists targeting health care providers offering abortion services, FBI Special Agent Frank Harrill told The Associated Press.

No arrests have been made and a motive is unknown. But Planned Parenthood has been criticized in recent weeks after a series of videos were released by an anti-abortion group that the group claims shows the organization profits from the donation of tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research.

Planned Parenthood denies the claims, and says the videos are heavily edited and deceptive.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson called the arson a “cowardly, reckless and criminal act of intimidation and public endangerment," in a statement to NBC station KHQ in Spokane.

Planned Parenthood said it will rebuild, and is working to establish an alternate site to serve its patients.

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