Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) led 20 House Republicans in sending a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday, demanding the Department of Justice (DOJ) act after several pro-life pregnancy centers were vandalized and threatened.
“Destruction of property, violence, and threats of violence have no place in a healthy and flourishing society. These attacks represent yet another development in a disturbing pattern of intimidation against crisis pregnancy centers and Pro-Life organizations,” the letter reads in part.
The letter made specific mention of vandalism perpetrated against the Mountain Area Pregnancy Services in Asheville, North Carolina. Budd is notably running for retiring Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-NC) seat against Cheri Beasley, a pro-abortion Democrat.
“The attackers scrawled in red graffiti across the clinic ‘if abortions aren’t safe neither are you!’ Unfortunately, Mountain Area Pregnancy Services is not the only pregnancy resource center to be targeted. CompassCare Community in Buffalo, New York, was firebombed by an anti-life group known as ‘Jane’s Revenge,”’ the letter reads. “The perpetrators were so brazen as to take credit for the act by spray painting on the facility, ‘Jane Was Here.’ Jane’s Revenge has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Pro-Life pregnancy centers and organizations.”
Indeed, Jane’s Revenge has threatened acts of domestic terrorism against pro-life centers across the country. In an open letter issued before the Supreme Court officially released its decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the radical group said in part:
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.
Budd and his fellow GOP lawmakers told Garland in the letter that the violence committed against these centers “require swift justice.” The letter reads:
While these actions undoubtedly violated state law, the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) also has the power to prosecute these crimes under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994. Congress enacted this legislation not just for abortion clinics but also to protect clinics that offer a range of Pro-Life services to women, including counseling services and adoption consultations.
House Republicans also asked Garland to answer several questions no later that June 30, 2022, including:
1. What steps has DOJ taken to investigate and prosecute individuals threatening and defacing Pro-Life pregnancy centers?
2. Since May 2022, how many prosecutions has DOJ initiated that include charges under 18 U.S.C. § 248? If none, please explain your failure to act thus far.
3. What resources are you providing to facilities that provide reproductive health services to deter attacks perpetrated by anti-life organizations?
4. Since 1994, how many cases has the DOJ prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 248 involving facilities that provide resources and counseling on alternatives to abortion?
5. For each case described in question 4, provide the name of each defendant, the outcome of the case, and any of the defendant’s prior or subsequent criminal records in the DOJ’s possession.
The lawmakers concluded:
Failing to provide justice for victims of these attacks will only further embolden violent criminals. I fear abdicating your duty to prosecute crimes against Pro-Life pregnancy resource centers will put additional innocent lives at risk. More must be done to protect women and their right to access information on abortion alternatives.
The letter was co-signed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA), Rep. John Rose (R-TN), Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA).
Hon. Marilyn Musgrave, Susan B. Anthony List Pro-Life America’s vice president of government affairs praised the letter, thanking lawmakers for asking the Biden administration to hold perpetrators accountable:
Pro-life organizations including pregnancy centers and maternity homes lovingly provide hope, encouragement, care and vital services for women and their children across the nation. Since 2016, over 800,000 unborn lives have been saved thanks to the invaluable work they do each day. The continued attacks on these organizations are unconscionable, and we thank Rep. Budd and his colleagues for calling on the Biden administration to prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law.
The most recent letter comes after more than 100 GOP lawmakers sent a letter to Garland before Roe was overturned, asking the DOJ to investigate the attacks as domestic terrorism.
LifeNews reported in mid-June that as many as 59 cases of “pro-abortion violence and intimidation” have been reported since the leak of the Supreme Court draft decision that aims to overturn Roe v. Wade. Catholic Vote also documented as many as 23 cases of “attacks on pregnancy centers and pro-life groups” in the same time frame.