Molotov device, vandalism found at Nashville pregnancy center

By: - July 1, 2022 1:00 pm
Hope Clinic in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Hope Clinic in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Federal and local authorities are investigating an overnight attack Thursday on a pregnancy counseling center in Nashville, where a window was left smashed with an un-ignited Molotov cocktail device found inside, according to Metro Nashville police who called it the “first act of vandalism seen as related to the U.S. Supreme Court abortion decision.”

The Hope Clinic for Women in Nashville has been in operation since 1983. The Christian pregnancy center provides pregnancy testing, counseling and parenting classes and works to steer women and girls away from abortions. It is among the organizations highlighted in a Friday news release applauding the overturning of Roe v. Wade from Gov. Bill Lee — who serves on its advisory board.

“This is terrorism and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Lee said on Twitter Thursday.

Joy Styles, who serves on the clinic’s board of directors, said the incident forced staff to cancel all morning appointments before reopening Thursday afternoon.

“We are a place of peace and a place of support,” she said. “Today that was disrupted.”

Styles disagreed with the characterization the clinic is anti-abortion, saying the faith-based organization provides no judgement to women and girls for their choices, but does hope women will “choose life.”  The center does not refer women to abortion clinics, she said.

“Because someone made an assumption about who we are and how we walk out with our beliefs, they prevented half of women we were to see today from getting appointments,” she said.

Police responded to a burglary alarm at the facility at 1:38 a.m. Thursday, finding the smashed window and the unexploded device inside, the department said.

The words “Janes Revenge” was sprayed outside the brick building, the news release said.

Reports of similar anti-abortion pregnancy centers being vandalized since the Supreme Court ruling have emerged in Colorado, Virginia and Florida.

The FBI, MNPD Specialized Investigations Division detectives and Hazardous Devices Unit officers are investigating, and the un-ignited device has been sent to a crime lab for analysis, Nashville police said.

“The police department is working with the facility on ways to bolster security,” a news release said.

In an email sent after publication of this story, Hope Clinic CEO Kailey Cornett said the building suffered damage from graffiti and the broken window that were quickly repaired Thursday.

“Our police department is collaborating with other law enforcement agencies to apprehend the perpetrator,” she said. “What we want you to know is that the Hope Clinic for Women remains open for our necessary services to women and families. We are grateful for all of the community support during this time and we are back to serving our clients with compassion, non-judgement, and care!”

 

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Anita Wadhwani
Anita Wadhwani

Anita Wadhwani is a senior reporter for the Tennessee Lookout. The Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media (TAPME) named her Journalist of the Year in 2019 as well as giving her the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Journalism. Wadhwani is formerly an investigative reporter with The Tennessean who focused on the impact of public policies on the people and places across Tennessee. She is a graduate of Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism. Wadhwani lives in Nashville with her partner and two children.

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