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Tipsheet

Lawmakers and Advocacy Groups Demand DOJ Action on Attacks Against Pro-Life Organizations

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Lawmakers and advocacy groups are demanding Attorney General Merrick Garland direct the Department of Justice to investigate threats and attacks against pro-life organizations, including pregnancy centers, in the wake of a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

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More than 100 House Republicans signed onto a letter asking Garland to look into vandalism against pro-life pregnancy centers. Townhall has covered how pregnancy centers across the country, including Washington, D.C., have been targeted. One clinic in upstate New York was allegedly “firebombed” by pro-abortion activists. Some centers have been defaced with the slogan "if abortions aren't safe, you aren't either."

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An Antifa-linked group called "Jane's Revenge" has taken credit for some of the attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers. This week, the group issued a statement declaring "open season" on pro-life pregnancy centers, as Katie covered.

"We have demonstrated in the past month how easy and fun it is to attack," the group threatened. "We are versatile, we are mercurial, and we answer to no one but ourselves. We promised to take increasingly drastic measures against oppressive infrastructures. Rest assured that we will, and those measures may not come in the form of something so easily cleaned up as fire and graffiti."

"From here forward, any anti-choice group who closes their doors, and stops operating will no longer be a target. But until you do, it’s open season, and we know where your operations are. The infrastructure of the enslavers will not survive. We will never stop, back down, slow down, or retreat," they said. "And for the allies of ours who doubt the authenticity of the communiqués and actions: there is a way you can get irrefutable proof that these actions are real. Go do one of your own. You are already one of us. Everyone with the urge to paint, to burn, to cut, to jam: now is the time."

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The group of 126 Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Scott Franklin (FL), Rep. Claudia Tenney (NY) and Rep. Mike Johnson (LA), stated in the letter that it is the responsibility of the National Security Division to protect citizens against domestic terrorism.

Since the draft Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health U.S. Supreme Court opinion was leaked on May 2, 2022, U.S. Supreme Court Justices and pro-life advocates have experienced heightened threats and violence. In the past month, terrorists have targeted numerous pro-life crisis pregnancy centers — two of which culminated in the firebombing and destruction of property by the terrorist group Jane’s Revenge in Buffalo, NY, and Madison, WI. During the Madison attack, the group directly threatened life and spray painted “if abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either” on the building’s façade.


In addition, the list below, which is not entirely comprehensive, illustrates some recent incidents:

• June 7, 2022: CompassCare Pregnancy Services firebombed (Buffalo, NY)

• June 6, 2022: Mountain Area Pregnancy Services vandalized (Asheville, NC)

• June 3, 2022: Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center vandalized (Washington, DC)

• May 25, 2022: Four Step Pregnancy Center vandalized (Lynwood, WA)

• May 22, 2022: Four churches vandalized (Olympia, WA)

• May 14, 2022: Alpha Pregnancy Center vandalized (Reisterstown, MD)

• May 10, 2022: Concerned Women for America’s office damaged (Alexandria, VA)

• May 8 or 9, 2022: First Care Women’s Health is vandalized (Manassas, VA)

• May 8, 2022: Oregon Right to Life office set on fire (Keizer, OR)

• May 8, 2022: Wisconsin Family Action office set on fire (Madison, WI)

• May 7, 2022: The Loreto House Pregnancy Resource Center vandalized (Denton, TX)

• May 3, 2022: Trotter House vandalized (Austin, TX)

• May 3, 2022: Care Net Pregnancy Center vandalized (Frederick, MD)

• May 3, 2022: A Catholic parish is vandalized (Boulder, CO)


The Department has stated that domestic terrorism investigations are a key priority, and subsequently created a new domestic terrorism unit within the National Security Division in January 2022. 18 U.S. Code § 2331 defines domestic terrorism as activities that:

“(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; 

(B) appear to be intended— (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and 

(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.” 

The department has a clear duty to pursue these recent attacks as instances of domestic terrorism, and it is the responsibility of the National Security Division to protect the United States from threats to our national security by seeking justice through law.

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Religious organization Catholic Vote penned a letter to Garland, along with several other pro-life organizations, demanding the Justice Department investigate the attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers. 

Since the May 3 leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs, those attacks have intensified. Two pro-life organizations in Madison, Wisconsin and Keizer, Oregon have been firebombed as well as a pregnancy care center in Buffalo, New York. Seventeen churches or pro-life organizations have been vandalized with pro-abortion or anti-religious slogans. Among those, a tiny Black Baptist church in rural Mississippi was spray-painted with depictions of rape, and four churches in Olympia, Washington were vandalized on the same day with phrases like “abort the church.” A recurring slogan has been: “If abortions aren't safe, then neither are you." 

The relative silence from the Administration endangers Americans even more. One extremist group is advocating for violence in response to the final Supreme Court decision on Dobbs, while another group has published home addresses, and encouraged people to show up at Supreme Court Justices’ homes, churches, and their children’s schools in an attempt to coerce the Justices and influence their final decision. Last week, there was an attempted assassination of a sitting Supreme Court Justice at his home. 

Since May 2020 over 130 incidents have occurred across 29 states and the District of Columbia at Catholic properties alone.? Incidents include arson, statues beheaded, limbs cut, smashed, and painted, gravestones defaced with swastikas and anti-Catholic language and American flags next to them burned, and?other?destruction and vandalism. A number of these incidents appeared to express hostility toward the Catholic Church because of its beliefs on the sanctity of life in the womb. 

Under 18 U.S. Code § 247 it is the duty of the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute, when necessary for substantial justice, those who do damage to religious property or participate in the obstruction of persons in the free exercise of religious beliefs. We appreciate that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been assisting at least one affected religious organization on this matter, and we understand through media reports that the FBI is at least investigating the firebombing in Madison. However, the severity of the situation calls for your leadership. This continued assault on religious and pro-life groups because of their beliefs is a manifest injustice that requires prompt, comprehensive, and public response.

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President of pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannensfelser, who signed Catholic Vote's letter, issued a follow-up statement.

“Every abortion is an act of violence – violence against the unborn child who is killed and violence against the mother who is wounded in one of the deepest ways possible. In contrast to that inherent violence, the vast network of pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and other organizations across America exist to peacefully and lovingly serve women and families,” Dannensfelser’s statement read.“President Biden, his administration, and every elected officeholder and candidate needs to unequivocally condemn them [Jane’s Revenge] now, including illegal picketing of Supreme Court justices’ homes and the attempted murder of Justice Kavanaugh.”

The leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization was published by Politico last month. The case is over a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. In the draft opinion, the justices were poised to overturn Roe. A final decision is expected in the coming weeks.

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