The staff at the Concord Feminist Health
Center, a nonprofit collective that provides
abortions and other gynecological services to
women in New Hampshire, returned to work
today following a Sunday night fire that
authorities are calling "highly suspicious." The
fire was reported shortly after 10 p.m. during
the holiday weekend when the clinic was
unoccupied, and caused several thousand
dollars worth of damage, mostly to office
areas in the rear of the building. Concord
Police report that the fire had extremely
destructive potential, but was extinguished
within 15 minutes of being spotted by an
anonymous neighbor. While the blaze has not
officially been declared arson, the physical
evidence is being analyzed by the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
Sunday's fire was not the first act of violence
at this clinic: in the past decade, it has been
targeted with a butyric acid attack, as well as
a 1989 fire. Possible links to an August fire at
the Feminist Health Center of Portland are
being explored. The Portland Center, the
Concord Center, and a clinic in Lebanon are
the only outpatient abortion providers in New
Two out of the four clinic fires in America in
the past 12 months have occurred in New
Hampshire. FMF's 1999 National Clinic
Violence Survey revealed a drop in clinic
violence since the passage of the Freedom of
Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) in
1994. The city of Concord, in fact, was the
first in New Hampshire to enact an ordinance
limiting anti-abortion protests. Investigation of
Sunday's fire will continue, as both the
Concord Police and ATF review the physical
evidence as well as the possible connection to
the August Portland fire.
Media Resources: 1999 National Clinic Violence Survey- 19 January 2000
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