Albuquerque, N.M., Nov 23, 2016 / 03:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A fire — allegedly set by arsonists — has closed a pro-life pregnancy center and chapel in New Mexico, shutting down its operations for the foreseeable future.

The Albuquerque Fire Department received a call at 12:32 AM on the morning of November 23, alerting them to smoke coming out of Project Defending Life, a pro-life pregnancy center in the city. When the firefighters arrived, they extinguished a fire in the chapel as well as others in rooms with pro-life information. No one was injured in the blaze. 

Holy Innocents Chapel, located within the Project Defending Life center, is a Catholic chapel that was open for prayer and benediction. The Eucharist was reserved in the tabernacle at the time of the fire, but was safely removed, undamaged. In an update to their website, Project Defending Life stated that they “will be closed for an indefinite period of time for repairs.” 

Albuquerque authorities are still investigating the exact cause of the fire. However, arson is suspected, and members of Students for Life of America — who frequently volunteer at the organization — have told SFLA and the FBI that they believe the fire was an intentional act of arson. 

“We are disgusted by this hate crime committed against Project Defending Life, a peaceful organization whose only aim is to help women facing unplanned pregnancies,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of SFLA in a statement, adding that she was thankful that no one was injured in the fire.

“The domestic terrorists who committed this heinous act must be found and brought to justice,” she continued, calling on pro-abortion activists to denounce the fire. “Planned Parenthood of ABQ and other pro-abortion forces must denounce this act immediately,” Hawkins urged.  “Violence has no place in our society, regardless of whether it is committed upon the most defenseless preborn child or a peaceful pro-life office.” “It is essential that Project Defending Life’s doors to be opened back up as soon as possible because so many women are in need of help, compassion and love,” Hawkins concluded.

New Mexico is one of only a handful of states that permits abortion throughout the entirety of pregnancy, including the third trimester. Because of these laws and state laws permitting government funding for abortion, the state has become a center for abortion within the American Southwest. 

Project Defending Life is located within walking distance from a Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions up to 19 weeks, and is also several miles away from Southwestern Women’s Options, which performs third-trimester abortions.