A Planned Parenthood in Knoxville, Tennessee, burned down early Friday morning.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel:
Fire crews were called about 6:40 a.m. as heavy smoke was coming out of the back of the structure, Assistant Chief Brent Seymour said. There were no injuries to report. The building was being renovated and the clinic had not been used in some time. Seymour said it’s too early in the investigation, with parts of the building unsafe to enter, to be able to say what caused the fire…
Once crews arrived the fire already engulfed portions of the building and flames were coming out of the roof, Seymour said. The lead commander determined a defensive operation was the best way to fight the fire, meaning no one was sent inside the building, he said.
The outlet added that federal investigators want to determine if the building’s destruction was “suspicious” in nature:
Representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI have already made contact with local officials and will help if it’s deemed the fire’s origin is suspicious. Crews are currently working with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Knox County Fire Department’s investigation unit.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood CEO Ashley Coffield bemoaned the destruction of the facility. “This is a huge loss for the community, and we hope that there are no resulting injuries or damage to neighboring properties. We are fully cooperating with the authorities as they assess the cause of the fire.”
The Supreme Court recently heard arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which pertains to a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation. The topic of abortion — and whether it should be legal to murder a preborn baby — has therefore remained in the national conversation for the past several weeks.
On Christmas Day, for example, the analysis and data site FiveThirtyEight posted a question on Twitter asking for abortion stories, noting that “there are fewer clinics and more restrictions” across the United States. Instead, several Twitter users flooded the comments with hundreds of stories about mothers and fathers who chose life.
One of the most popular responses was a photo of an adolescent girl, along with a description: “At the ultrasound for my 2nd pregnancy we were told our baby had Down Syndrome and her heart was incompatible with life. They encouraged us to end the pregnancy. She’s completely healthy.”
Another woman said: “I found myself unexpectedly pregnant at the age of 22 in my last semester of college with my daughter. Her father and I decided to marry, and she is still the most unexpected blessing in our lives. I cannot imagine a world without her joyful presence.”
One person added: “I know three women that have had abortions. All three were talked into it by someone else. All three say it’s the biggest regret they have in their lives.”
Another user responded: “I experienced an unplanned pregnancy at 18 and chose to have an abortion. It was a traumatic experience and I still wonder all the time who my son would be today. Stop telling women abortion is their ultimate freedom. I never felt empowered by it.”
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