News Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell today urged Attorney General John Ashcroft to fully investigate a fire that severely damaged a reproductive health clinic in Olympia early Sunday morning. Local fire officials announced that preliminary investigations suggest the fire was caused by arson.

The text of the letter follows below:

January 11, 2005

The Honorable John Ashcroft
Attorney General
The U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

Early Sunday morning, a reproductive health clinic in Olympia, Washington, was consumed by fire. The results of preliminary investigations by local fire officials into the cause of this fire suggest it was caused by arson. Fortunately, no patients or clinic staff were injured in the fire. It is our understanding that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives staff are already in Olympia assisting local fire officials in investigating this matter and seeking to determine the parties responsible. We appreciate the prompt federal response to this troubling incident.

We write to request that you direct all available resources to the investigation of this matter. This facility provided both reproductive health and abortion services. The on-going investigation should determine whether violations of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act have occurred. Each time a reproductive health clinic experiences an incident like this, not only are those who seek abortion services in peril, but those who use a wide range of reproductive health service are as well. The staff of these clinics should also be assured that they will be able to continue to serve their patients without additional incidents.

The women of Olympia are the true victims, as this fire will prevent them from exercising their rights as Americans to make health care decisions for themselves at a reproductive health facility in their own community. We appreciate your attention to our request and your assistance in this matter, as my constituents face a long and difficult clean up.


Patty Murray
United States Senator

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator