Abortion Provider Vows to Fight On After Extremist Sentenced to Five Years for Violent Clinic Attack

The damage at Affirmative Care Solutions, an abortion clinic in Illinois that suffered a violent attack on May 20, 2023. (Courtesy of Midwest Reproductive Freedom Fighter)

On Monday, Feb. 5, anti-abortion extremist Philip Buyno was sentenced to five years in prison for driving his car through and attempting to set fire to the site of Affirmative Care Solutions (ACS), an abortion clinic planning to open in Danville, Illinois. U.S. District Court Judge Colin S. Bruce also ordered Buyno to pay $327,547 in restitution, while noting it was unlikely Buyno had any assets.

ACS owner and director, LaDonna Prince, a long-time Indianapolis clinic operator, purchased the Illinois property last spring to open a new comprehensive reproductive healthcare facility in an abortion-access state following the Dobbs decision. The clinic planned to open prior to Indiana’s total abortion ban going into effect last year.

This terrorist attack was intentionally timed to prohibit us from opening our doors. It delayed our opening by at least a year, perhaps more.

LaDonna Prince, owner of Affirmative Care Solutions

Following Buyno’s sentence, Prince said, “No act of hostility or terrorism will deter us from our mission––providing abortion care to those who need it.”

On May 20, 2023, Buyno drove to the clinic site with a hatchet, matches, a flare, wood and bottles and cans filled with gasoline; he then repeatedly rammed his car into the building, destroying the main entrance, damaging the rear wall, and harming the foundation, before becoming stuck in the rubble. According to the criminal complaint, Buyno told arresting officers he intended to destroy the clinic and if he were released from jail, he would “finish the job.”

Buyno was arrested on May 20, 2023, and has remained in official custody since that time.

Buyno also identified himself as a member of a “rescue group” and claimed to have “rescued” with extremists Matt Trewhella, a signatory of the Defensive Action/Justifiable Homicide Statement in support of individuals who murder physicians to stop abortion, and Dan Holman, who called the murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was justified. Both Trewhella and Holman are associated with national anti-abortion group Operation Save America (OSA). Just last week, a different group of “rescuers” associated with OSA were convicted of federal charges for a clinic blockade in Tennessee.

At the hearing, Prince testified about the impact of Buyno’s violence: “This terrorist attack was intentionally timed to prohibit us from opening our doors. It delayed our opening by at least a year, perhaps more.”

“Without our clinic open, the women and community we served in Indiana, Eastern Illinois, and other states are being denied care they desperately need and deserve,” Prince continued. “Every day the clinic is not open, especially once our Indiana facility was forced to close in August 2023 when Indiana’s cruel abortion ban went into effect, our patients suffer.”

No act of hostility or terrorism will deter us from our mission––providing abortion care to those who need it.

LaDonna Prince

ACS will provide care to women and pregnant people, especially women of color and patients from under-resourced communities.

“Our office strongly condemns the defendant’s attempt to prevent women in our community from accessing important reproductive health services,” said U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois Gregory K. Harris.

To learn more and to support the ongoing repairs to Affirmative Care Solutions clinic, one of the few abortion clinics owned and operated by a Black woman in the U.S., visit GoFundMe.

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Emilia Dominguez is an intern for Ms. and the National Clinic Access Project. She completed her undergraduate studies at McGill University in 2023, majoring in Political Science and Latin American Studies. Her interests include abortion rights and queer, Indigenous and feminist social movements.