Vandals strike Life Care Center

Koran Addo

When Christopher Gustafson arrived at work last Friday, he was greeted by the word “helter” written in blood on the wall outside his office.

Gustafson is director of the University Life Care Center, a group that opposes abortion, and had been on the job two weeks when he found the message. He said he was shaken by the vandalism, which took place sometime between Thursday night and Friday afternoon.

Gustafson said he is unsure whether his office was targeted because of its stance on abortion.

“This could be interpreted as an act against a pro-life organization,” he said. “But I don’t generally see pro-choice groups engaging in this type of behavior.”

Joanna Donohue, education chair for Prolife Across America, a nonprofit organization that opposes abortion, said vandalism against abortion opponents is more common than many think.

“I’m not surprised by the vandalism,” she said. “This is something we typically see from the pro-abortion side.”

Jill Davidson, a reproductive health counselor at the Robbinsdale Clinic, a family practice clinic that performs abortions, said she cannot recall any vandalism against groups that oppose abortions.

“We in the pro-choice community don’t condone vandalism or violence against anyone,” she said. “Having been on the defensive end of violence for the last 30 years, we feel strongly about this.”

But Davidson said it is possible the act was carried out by an extremist, someone outside mainstream abortion rights supporters.

People on both sides of the issue said it is possible the vandal or vandals mistook the center for an abortion clinic, since crisis pregnancy clinics are often confused with abortion clinics.

Gustafson said he is not sure if anything like this has happened before at the center.

Hannah Stein, co-president of Law Students for Choice, said people with a political agenda would have implicitly stated through the vandalism if they were responsible.

“This incident is more likely the work of a random person with no political agenda,” Stein said. “You would figure that a pro-choice person would have written something that made sense.”

Although the entrance to the center’s office is inaccessible from the building’s front door, no other businesses in the building were vandalized.