GOP to DOJ: Investigate vandalism at anti-abortion centers as domestic terrorism

Rep. Scott Franklin (R-Fla.) leaves a House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.
Greg Nash

More than 100 House Republicans signed on to a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking the Department of Justice to investigate vandalism and attacks at anti-abortion pregnancy centers as domestic terrorism.

Incidents of vandalism and suspected arson ticked up after the publication of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that recognized abortion rights.

“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,” the group said in the letter, signed by 126 House Republicans and led by Reps. Scott Franklin (Fla.), Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) and Mike Johnson (La.).

The letter listed a number of reports of attacks on pregnancy centers, which aim to steer pregnant women away from obtaining abortions. 

One such center in Madison, Wis., last month was set ablaze in a suspected arson. Local reports said that a pro-abortion rights group called Jane’s Revenge took responsibility for the arson but could not verify the authenticity of the group’s statement.

It also pointed to reports of vandalism and break-ins at centers in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Maryland and Oregon, as well as at a Catholic church in Colorado.

“The Department of Justice must act swiftly to investigate and prosecute recent domestic terrorist attacks against pro-life organizations and dissuade future perpetrators of such violence,” the Republicans said in the letter. “These attacks have the intended effect of chilling the free exercise of religion and speech, undermining the constitutional rights of Americans.”

Several members of House GOP leadership also signed on to the letter: House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Policy Committee Chairman Gary Palmer, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer (Minn.) and Conference Secretary Richard Hudson (N.C.). Johnson is also vice chairman of the House GOP conference.

A memo from the Department of Homeland Security last month said that civil unrest and violence may worsen if the official decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization holds the same result of overturning Roe as the leaked draft opinion revealed in early May. The final opinion is expected in the coming weeks.

The letter requested that the DOJ answer whether it is investigating the mentioned attacks as instances of domestic terrorism and what the department’s plan is to prevent similar attacks in the future.

Tags anti-abortion clinics Claudia Tenney domestic terrorism Elise Stefanik Gary Palmer Merrick Garland Mike Johnson Mike Johnson Richard Hudson Scott Franklin Tom Emmer Tom Emmer
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