Pro-life medical office president said they received threats prior to Buffalo fire

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AMHERST, N.Y. (WHEC) — Police in buffalo say a fire on Tuesday morning at a pro-life medical office, CompassCare Pregnancy Services, is being investigated as arson.

The non-profit offers free treatment and counseling for women with unplanned pregnancies in its statewide offices, which includes Rochester and Buffalo. CompassCare said its goal is to stop women from wanting an abortion by showing support and building confidence.

Jim Harden, president of CompassCare, said both the Rochester and Buffalo location received threats online and in-person prior to the fire. The Rochester office is updating its locks and its windows for security.

Harden said the offices in Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo locations have increased their police security.

"The police, both in Rochester and in Buffalo, recognized a significant threat and issued special alerts that the police were taking extra surveillance of out of our property," Harden said.

Harden said the fire was part of intentional destruction to their facility targeted toward their views opposing abortion. The facility’s windows were broken and graffiti on the building wrote: “Jane Was Here”. He said the message was a reference to a pro-choice extremist group Jane’s Revenge.

Harden said state lawmakers haven’t given pro-life organizations the same funding for security that they’ve provided for pro-choice groups.

"We haven’t gotten a single dime for security. not a single dime. It’s shameful what these abortion activists have done, but it’s even more shameful that you don’t hear a denunciation of this violence of pro-life pregnancy centers from the sources of power? Where is the legislature? where is Hochul?" he asked.

State Assemblyman Harry Bronson, representing the Rochester area, denounced the suspected arson.

"This incident where violence is being used against a clinic that has a position regarding reproductive choice that you disagree with is totally inappropriate and vice versa. A clinic that performs abortion, if violence were to be used against those individuals or that clinic.
it is wrong."

In May, Gov. Hochul announced $35 million to enhance and protect abortion services at clinics throughout the state. Right now, state lawmakers say that pot of money only goes toward abortion services.

Assemblywoman Sarah Clark said:

"In this particular instance, if there’s needs for security at certain places because of an uptick, then obviously that’s something we need to address. But this was not in response to security threats. Obviously for our crisis pregnancy centers, it’s it’s in response to Roe v Wade being overturned and what that will look like for our abortion providers in the state."

Harden said right now they are going to try to find an alternate space to treat the patients who were going to that facility in Buffalo.

Brighton Police Chief David Catholdi said the facility here is on their special attention list.