The blaze was set around midnight by a firebomb made from a beer bottle, gasoline and a shirt. No one was hurt.
Potential arsonist Bobby Joe Rogers was arrested Wednesday night. He was charged Thursday and faces up to 20 years in prison. Awaiting conviction, Rogers is being held without bond and another court date has not been set.
The 41-year-old drifter with a criminal past was inspired to burn the building down after watching the comings-and-goings of clinic patrons alongside protesters during the day. He told authorities he has a strong disbelief in abortion.
The Pensacola facility is plagued daily by protesters carrying signs, crosses and other religious paraphernalia. In the midst of the bible belt, seems to be a favorite for anti-choice attacks. The clinic has already suffered at the hands of extremists twice in the past.
In 1984, the clinic was bombed on Christmas day. The two men responsible were reportedly "giving Jesus a birthday present."
Then, in 1994, Dr. John Britton and a clinic escort were murdered by gunman Paul Hill. In 2003, Hill was the first prisoner to be executed for crimes against abortion providers.
The National Abortion Federation has been tracking clinic violence since 1977. Over the years, there have been 175 other cases of arson, as well as 8 murders and 17 attempted murders of clinic personnel.
By the looks of these most recent headlines, the religious war on reproductive rights doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. And unfortunately, Florida has become a particularly lethal battleground for the pious aggressors-- and their (homeless) supporters.