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Pro-Abortion Terrorist Gets Lighter Sentence Than Peaceful Pro-Life Activists

Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action points to office damage of firebombing on the organisation's Madison headquarters.
Image CreditCBS 58/YouTube

Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, who firebombed the pro-life Wisconsin Family Action offices on Mother’s Day, is sentenced to 7.5 years.


In late January, six pro-life activists were convicted on charges of violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, for blocking the entrance to an abortion facility in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee in 2021. The FACE Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, punishes “violent, threatening damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide” abortions. 

For their peaceful demonstration — that included hymns and prayer — the defendants each face a maximum sentence of more than a decade in prison and three years of supervised released, plus up to $260,000 in fines. 

On Wednesday, Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, a pro-abortion terrorist who firebombed the pro-life Wisconsin Family Action offices on Mother’s Day, 2022, was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison (minus time served) plus three years supervised release on just one count of malicious damage by fire or explosives of property used in interstate commerce.

U.S. District Court Judge William Conley, appointed to the Western Wisconsin District bench by President Barack Obama, handed down the sentence on a much lighter charge than the acts of conspiracy and domestic terrorism federal prosecutors say Roychowdhury engaged in. With good behavior and time served, the terrorist will serve but five years, according to legal experts. 

“Roychowdhury’s arson was an act of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Timothy M. O’Shea for the Western District of Wisconsin said in a statement. “The U.S. Department of Justice, and this U.S. Attorney’s Office, with our local and federal law enforcement partners will never flinch from holding domestic terrorists accountable.”


‘Aggressive Tactics’

The Justice Department has certainly thrown the book at pro-life activists accused of acts of domestic terrorism. 

Mark Houck and his family were greeted with an FBI raid and arrested on FACE Act charges in 2022. A Philadelphia jury unanimously found Houck not guilty. Houck’s wife, Ryan-Marie Houck, told the Catholic News Agency that some 25 agents with more than a dozen vehicles showed up at the family’s house “and started pounding on our door.”

“They said they were going to break in if he didn’t open it. And then they had about five guns pointed at my husband, myself, and basically at my kids,” she told CNA at the time. 

Meanwhile, champions of murdering the unborn threatened to assassinate Supreme Court justices — with one man arrested outside Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home and charged with attempted murder — and unhinged mobs screamed outside their homes. But leftist stooge Attorney General Merrick Garland wouldn’t lift a finger to protect the justices.   

“The FBI has heightened its use of aggressive tactics against pro-life Americans since the Biden administration’s promise to use every tool available to protect the right of women to subvert pro-life state laws passed in the wake of the Supreme Court‘s Dobbs v. Jackson decision. This now includes heavy-handed unequal enforcement of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act against pro-life advocates,” Brian Burch, president of Catholic Vote, wrote in an op-ed for Newsweek headlined, “The Campaign To Intimidate Churches, Pro-Life Groups Is Getting Worse.” 

By comparison, Tyler Massengill, who used a homemade explosive to set fire to a Planned Parenthood abortion mill in Peoria, Illinois, was sentenced in August to 10 years in prison. As was the case in Roychowdhury’s May 2022 use of Molotov cocktails to set fire to the Wisconsin Family Action office, no one was in the Planned Parenthood building at the time of the attack. 

In the Peoria firebombing sentencing, U.S. District Judge James Shadid said women seeking abortions and a “variety of services” were inconvenienced, according to WMBD-TV.

“And to add to your accomplishments, there’s the striking of fear, stress and inconvenience to thousands of patients and employees from the many other Planned Parenthood facilities who wonder if they are next on the list of misguided people like you,” the judge said. 

Yes, pro-life advocates can relate. 

Days of Rage

Roychowdhury’s sentence is the first after a wave of attacks against pro-life supporters and organizations surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs ruling that overturned the constitutionally flawed Roe v. Wade

The attack in Madison just after 6 a.m. on May 8, 2022 was among the first following a leaked report to Politico about the high court’s intention to strike down Roe and its federalized protections of abortion. Investigators found a burned-black broken mason jar beneath a broken window. A painted threat was scrawled on the building’s exterior: “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either.” 

Roychowdhury remained at large until late March 2023, when the terrorist was foiled by a half-eaten burrito. The DNA from the discarded dinner was the evidence investigators needed to arrest him.

Jane’s Revenge, a militant pro-abortion group, claimed responsibility for the attack, demanding pro-life centers face “increasingly extreme tactics to maintain freedom over our bodies.”  

“Wisconsin is the first flashpoint, but we are all over the US, and we will issue no further warnings,” a Jane’s Revenge statement declared. It later called for “a night of rage.” 

Pro-abortion terrorists played out their rage in scores of incidents, including an arson attack on a New York pro-life pregnancy center. CompassCare Pregnancy Services sustained significant damage in the attack. 

Rev. Jim Harden, CompassCare CEO, said the organization’s private investigators believe there may be a connection to Roychowdhury “and want to know if he turned state’s evidence, revealing his accomplices in the terror attack; the identity of the ‘grant’ funders to which he referred in his text messages; as well as identifying the mid-level and upper echelon Antifa leaders.”

“The sentencing would lead the public to believe this is a simple case of misguided arson instead of a political act representing a multi-national Marxist revolution,” Harden said in a statement. 

‘Emblazoned on My Mind’

Those who attended this week’s sentencing said Judge Conley characterized Roychowdhury’s actions as acts of terrorism but seemed to see the firebombing more as an error of judgment. In essence, Don’t judge the terrorist’s entire life on one bad day. 

Julaine Appling, president emeritus of Wisconsin Family Action, said her organization is disappointed with the softer sentencing. In her victim statement, Appling recommended the misguided terrorist serve a 15-year sentence, in no small part because investigators found Roychowdhury had taken out a White Pages account to track Appling and another staff member. 

“This is very, very personal to me,” she said, adding that investigators have told her that Roychowdhury has not been forthcoming about who helped him in the Madison firebombing. 

In a Wisconsin Family Action statement issued on Thursday, Appling said, “May 8, 2022, is forever emblazoned on my mind. It was a very visual reminder that people who disagree with us can and will use violence to try to silence us.”

“This was a serious, premeditated crime that was the first of nearly 100 attacks on prolife organizations across the country. In light of this, we are disappointed in the judge’s decision regarding a crime the judge called ‘terrorism’ multiple times,” Appling added. 

She told me that while she believes top levels of the Biden Justice Department are “rotten to the core,” the FBI agents and other officers who worked on the case were very professional and did seek justice for the act of terrorism. Appling noted the U.S. attorney’s office in Madison had recommended a sentence of 12 to 15 years. 

Christine File, president of Wisconsin Family Action, said the “court missed an opportunity to strengthen the protection of constitutional rights like free speech and free exercise, rights that have themselves been under assault in recent years.”

“The defendant’s act of domestic terrorism to threaten our people, our families and friends, our neighbors, and our greater pro-life community is unconscionable,” she said in the statement.

Appling says she definitely sees the disparity in justice, a byproduct of judicial discretion and the approach of law enforcement at the politically weaponized DOJ. 

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