Webster Calls on AG Garland to Investigate Domestic Terror Attacks on Anti-Abortion Groups

Washington, DC - Today, Florida Congressman Daniel Webster, R-Clermont, joined Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL) and over 100 House Republicans to call on Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the recent of attacks and vandalism targeting anti-abortion groups as acts of domestic terrorism. In the last two months, there have been at least 15 documented terrorist attacks against Pro-Life organizations. In addition to these attacks, police recently arrested a California man for attempting to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his home. Each of these crimes followed the egregious leak of the draft Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Supreme Court opinion and were clearly politically motivated. In response, the cosigners demand the attacks be investigated as instances of domestic terrorism as defined in federal law.

“We write to express serious concerns over recent attacks targeting religious organizations and crisis pregnancy centers and request the Department of Justice respond with how its National Security Division plans to investigate these acts of domestic terrorism,” the members wrote. “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.”

“The department has a clear duty to pursue these recent attacks as instances of domestic terrorism,” the members continued. “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.”

Read the full letter below and here.

Dear Attorney General Garland,

We write to express serious concerns over recent attacks targeting religious organizations and crisis pregnancy centers and request the Department of Justice respond with how its National Security Division plans to investigate these acts of 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.

As you know, the Department of Homeland Security is anticipating further violence and unrest in the coming months upon the final release of the Dobbs opinion, stating that these threats are “likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the Court’s official ruling”. With this warning made clear, 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. These attacks have the intended effect of chilling the free exercise of religion and speech, undermining the constitutional rights of Americans.

For these reasons, we request that you respond to the following questions thirty days from the receipt of this letter. 

  1. Is the Department currently investigating the attacks against the aforementioned groups as instances of domestic terrorism? If not, please provide the rationale behind this decision.
  2. What is the Department’s plan to prevent similar attacks from occurring against other pro-life organizations and is the Department currently collaborating with state and local law enforcement to ensure further incidents do not occur?

Sincerely,

###