DHS warned of violence tied to leak of draft overturning Roe
The fallout from the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn protections for abortion has sparked threats of violence that will likely “persist and may increase,” according to a memo from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The memo, first reported by Axios and obtained by The Hill, outlines a threat picture the agency expects to worsen if the court officially issues the opinion that would overturn the precedent set in Roe v. Wade.
DHS warns the threats could target protesters, abortion clinics and government officials.
“Some of these threats discussed burning down or storming the US Supreme Court and murdering Justices and their clerks, members of Congress, and lawful demonstrators,” DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis wrote in the memo.
The surge in concern follows reporting by Politico that released a draft Supreme Court opinion on the matter — the first time such a document has ever been leaked in the court’s history.
Intelligence officials in the Capitol region have since flagged 25 threats on social media to partner agencies. That included posts encouraging violence at a Tuesday protest “by sharing images and comments related to terrorist vehicle rammings of lawful demonstrators.”
Earlier this month someone also started a fire at an anti-abortion organization’s building in Oregon.
DHS noted that domestic violent extremists have long targeted facilities that provide abortions, pointing to arson incidents and even murders by anti-abortion violent extremists.
But the ruling could spur violence from a wider range of the ideological spectrum.
“Historically, violent acts related to this issue were primarily committed by abortion-related violent extremists that opposed abortion rights. Going forward, grievances related to restricting abortion access could fuel violence by pro-choice abortion-related violent extremists and other DVEs,” DHS wrote, adding that advocacy groups ranging from religious organizations to those who aid those seeking abortions could be targets.
The abortion debate could also spur involvement from those otherwise motivated by race.
“Some racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists’ embrace of pro-life narratives may be linked to the perception of wanting to ‘save white children’ and ‘fight white genocide,’” DHS warned.
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