Westerman joins Push to Demand DOJ Action following extreme violence against pro-life organizations and churches
“The DOJ must do its job and protect innocent Americans who are continually threatened by far-left extremists,” said Rep. Westerman. “Freedom of expression is an essential part of our democracy, and it must be protected in all circumstances, regardless of a person’s political affiliation. To refuse to defend pro-life organizations and individuals would be a serious dereliction of duty by AG Garland and a threat to the integrity of the DOJ.
“I saw this pattern when I was a prosecutor: criminals don’t stop until they’re caught. Since the Flight of Roe v. Wade, pro-abortion extremists have committed acts of terrorism against pro-life organizations and churches across the country. They won’t stop until the Justice Department steps in and does its job. said Congressman Buck.
Co-signers of the letter include Reps. Greg Steube (FL-17), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Thomas Massie (KY-04), Burgess Owens (UT-04), Brian Babin (TX-36), Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Bill Posey (FL-08), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Mike Johnson (LA-04), Jim Banks (IN – 03), Ben Cline (VA-06), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Daniel Webster (FL-11), Jeff Duncan (SC-03 ), , Randy Weber (TX-14), Mary Miller (IL-15), John Rose (TN-06), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Ann Wagner (MO-02) , Tim Walberg (IL-07), John Moolenar (MI-04), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Young Kim (CA-39), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Bob Good (VA-05), Warren Davidson (OH-08), Tracey Mann (KS-01), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Scott Franklin (FL-15), Vicky Hartzler ( MO-04), Peter Meijer (MI-03), Pete Sessions (TX-17), Ted Budd (NC-13), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Kelly Amstrong (R-ND), David McKinley (WV-01), Glenn Grothman (WI-06) and Matt Rosendale (R-MT).
This letter has received support from March for Life, National Right to Life, SBA Pro-Life America and Heritage Action.
“Since 2016, more than 800,000 lives have been saved thanks to pregnancy centres, maternities and other pro-life organizations, mainly staffed by volunteers, who lovingly provide support and encouragement to mothers and their children through the country”, said the Hon. Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs for SBA Pro-Life America. “The recent spate of attacks against these organizations is heinous and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We thank Rep. Buck and his colleagues for standing with these pro-life organizations who deserve our support to continue their work supporting moms and babies.
“National Right to Life thanks Congressman Buck for his efforts urging the U.S. Department of Justice to end violence against pro-life organizations,” said Jennifer Popik, National Right to Life Director of Federal Legislation. “National Right to Life has always believed that violence should never play a role in protecting unborn children and has always condemned such violence.”
The text of the letter can be found HERE and below:
TEXT OF THE LETTER
The Honorable Merrick B. Garland
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Attorney General Garland:
Since the draft notice was leaked in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on May 2, 2022, there were at least 40 documented attacks on pregnancy centers and pro-life churches. These attacks include instances of vandalism, destruction of property and even firebombings. The radical group Jane’s Revenge, which took credit for the May 2022 firebombing of a pregnancy center in Madison, Wisconsin, even declared it “open season” on pro- life and pledged to step up its offensive.
This wave of violence is likely to continue in the coming months with the release of an official court notice. It is critical that the Department of Justice take action now to protect pro-life pregnancy centers and places of worship. The Clinton administration took such steps to protect abortion clinics, signing the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The FACE Act makes it a federal crime to use force, threat of force, physical obstruction, intentional injury, or intimidation. against clinics providing “reproductive health services” or places of worship, with penalties such as fines and imprisonment. It also makes it a federal crime to intentionally damage or destroy the property of these clinics or places of worship. Covered clinics include those offering “pregnancy-related services”.
During the 1990s, the DOJ went so far as to preemptively dispatch U.S. Marshals under the law to monitor abortion clinics across the country. In doing so, Attorney General Janet Reno was responding to pro-abortion activists comparing acts of violence against abortion clinics to violence against civil rights activists and students in the 1960s, saying the federal government was “using all federal tools” to protect abortion clinics. . The US Marshals Service continued to protect abortion providers into the 2000s under the Bush and Obama administrations.
The Supreme Court also upheld related speech restrictions on First Amendment rights, ruling a 36-foot protest “buffer zone” from abortion clinic entrances and aisles constitutional in Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, Inc. (1993) and a similar 15-foot constitutional buffer in Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York (1997). In Hill v. Colorado (2000), the Court upheld an 8-foot floating protest buffer for passers-by, writing that the legislation did not violate the content neutrality test established in Ward v. Rock Against Racism (1989) because it did not apply to the “content of protesters’ speech” but rather instead of that speech.
The assault on the constitutional rights of pro-life Americans to freedom of speech and religion must stop. Given the efforts of all three branches of government throughout the 1990s to protect abortion, the means to combat this lawless behavior are already in place. We urge the Department of Justice to take aggressive and immediate action to end the violence and protect the rights of all Americans.