Man sentenced to five years for anti-abortion attack on Illinois clinic

DANVILLE, Ill. – A man was sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to burn down an abortion clinic in Danville, Illinois. The clinic, Affirmative Care Solutions (ACS), was targeted by an anti-abortion extremist, Philip Buyno, who drove his car into the building on May 20, 2023, with the intention of setting it on fire. Buyno was also ordered to pay $327,547 in restitution, despite having few assets, by U.S. District Court Judge Colin S. Bruce.

The clinic’s owner, LaDonna Prince, had purchased the Illinois property to open a comprehensive reproductive healthcare facility in response to the “Dobbs” decision. This decision would result in the total ban of abortion in Indiana, where Prince operated a clinic. The attack on the clinic delayed its opening by at least a year, causing significant damage to the building. Prince expressed determination to continue providing abortion care despite the act of terrorism.

Buyno, who claimed to be a member of an anti-abortion group, was found with a hatchet, matches, a flare, wood, and bottles and cans filled with gasoline when he attempted the attack. He also admitted to planning to destroy the clinic and threatened to continue his efforts if released from jail. His affiliation with extremists in the anti-abortion movement, including those associated with Operation Save America, heightens concerns about these groups’ potential for violence.

The impact of Buyno’s violence has had far-reaching effects, not only delaying the opening of the clinic but also depriving women and communities in Indiana and Eastern Illinois of essential reproductive health services. The absence of the clinic has had a detrimental impact, especially after the closure of the Indiana facility due to the state’s abortion ban. ACS aims to cater to women and pregnant individuals, particularly those from under-resourced communities and communities of color. U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, Gregory K. Harris, condemned Buyno’s attempt to hinder access to reproductive health services.

Despite the setbacks caused by the attack, ACS and its owner remain resolute in their mission to provide essential abortion care. The clinic has been the target of a fundraising campaign to support repairs and ongoing operations, highlighting the community’s commitment to ensuring access to reproductive health services.