WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – Volunteers painted over graffiti left on a pregnancy center in Winter Haven following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday.
“They got vandalized and we wanted to be here to help them,” said Jason Hughes, an executive pastor with the Winter Haven Worship Center. “It’s very sad that they got attacked. We hate that for what they stand for.”
The Life Choice Pregnancy Center provides no-cost resources, including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and parenting classes to patients with unplanned pregnancies.
“Our center is for life. We are here to help women who are choosing life,” said Lyndsy Flanagan, development director at Life Choice Pregnancy Center.
According to police, sometime between Friday evening and Sunday at noon a person, or a group of people, used spray paint to write messages on the side of the building, the front entrance and the sign.
The messages included “abortion for all, “we are everywhere” and “we’re coming for you.”
“Different sayings like ‘we’re coming to get you,’ things like that, different symbols that have been used around the country by certain groups,” said Winter Haven Police Chief David Brannan.
Winter Haven Police are investigating. Chief Brannan said the lens of a security camera was painted over and his department is working to obtain video of it.
“It’s very difficult unless they start to brag somewhere and we can link that back. We’re still working to see if there’s any video in the area,” said Chief Brannan.
Development director Flanagan said the center has been targeted before, but not at this level.
“I understand that people have a hard time during this time and so we’re sensitive to that, but I also think that there’s better ways to display a difference of an opinion,” she said.
The organization is reassessing security.
“This might be a continual act of vandalism or hate towards our center. We have that expectation now. I don’t think we thought that we were a target because we are one of the smaller centers. There’s two larger centers in Lakeland,” said Flanagan.
The person or people responsible could face felony criminal mischief charges, depending on the cost of the damage to the building.