It appears the nationwide debate over abortion has moved to the streets of the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center (713 Maryland Ave. NE) was defaced late Thursday night.
Red paint was thrown on the front door and the words “JANE SAYS REVENGE” spray-painted on the side of the building, with what appears to be the symbol for anarchy in the place of the letter “A” in “Jane”.
The center has a security camera, but it was not in operation at the time. Investigators are gathering footage from nearby residential systems.
Founded in 1985, the Capitol Hill Crisis Pregnancy Center (CHCPC) is a faith-based non-profit. According to the website, “the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center serves the Gospel of Jesus Christ by providing intervention and abortion alternatives for women and men facing crisis pregnancies.”
Volunteers offer free pregnancy testing, peer counseling, education, support and referrals as well as baby clothes and supplies. CHPC also offers post-abortion counseling.
Executive Director Janet Durig has been with the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center for more than 19 years. Durig said she got a call from a neighbor Friday morning letting her know the building had been defaced with red paint and the word ‘revenge’.
“When I first heard the news I wanted to cry,” Durig said. “I take it personally.”
Durig said the vandalism is “heartbreaking” and expressed concern about the Supreme Court leak perpetuating attacks on similar centers as “emotions are running high.”
In May 3, Politico reported that the Supreme Court had voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in an initial draft majority opinion that was leaked to the news organization. The news sparked immediate protests outside the Supreme Courts and action all over the country.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, have themselves been at the center of the abortion debate. In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down California’s FACT act, which mandated that CPCs disclose information about state-provided options during pregnancy, including abortion, saying the law “targets speakers, not speech.”
Pro-choice organizations argued that CPCs intentionally mislead people. “Fake women’s health centers have a very well-documented history of intentionally misleading women into believing they’re real health care facilities, getting them inside their doors,” pro-choice organization NARAL wrote in a February 2018 press release, “and once they’re inside, these centers then proceed to give women false, incomplete, or inaccurate medical information, often from untrained individuals.”
The Capitol Hill center itself was included on a map of “fake women’s health centers” by NARAL in a post on their website.
Durig expressed frustration, saying the center was there to help women. “People on the totally pro-abortion side don’t seem to understand that there are women who really want to keep their babies and would keep them if they had someone to help them,” Durig said. “It makes me sad that people don’t grasp that and this is proof that they don’t.”
Police are investigating and ask anyone with information should call MPD’s CIC at 202-727-9099 or text 50411.
The Hill Rag has reached out to NARAL and to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) for comment. This story is updating.
Sarah Payne is a general assignment reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth O’Gorek is the staff reporter for Hill Rag. You can reach her at Liz@hillrag.com