By Mary Margaret Olohan
President Joe Biden’s administration is refusing to address why it’s focusing efforts on arresting pro-life activists amid national outcry over dozens of attacks on pro-life centers and churches.
At least 86 Catholic churches and 74 pregnancy resource centers and pro-life organizations have been attacked since the May leak of the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, according to a Catholic Vote tracker. Many of these buildings have been vandalized with threats such as “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you.”
The FBI has said that it’s investigating attacks targeting “pregnancy resource centers, faith-based organizations, and reproductive health clinics across the country” as “potential acts of domestic violent extremism, [Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act] violations, or violent crime matters,” but the bureau has apparently not arrested anyone in connection with the attacks on pro-life centers and churches.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department has charged at least 13 individuals with violations of the FACE Act since the beginning of October. Those includes Mark Houck, a pro-life activist and Catholic father of 11 accused of pushing a pro-abortion volunteer while praying outside an abortion clinic. Houck has said the volunteer was harassing his son.
Though the White House condemned “violence, threats, or vandalism” amid pro-abortion protests this summer, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates would not address the refusal of the Justice Department and the FBI to share whether any arrests have been made for the scores of attacks and referred The Daily Signal to the Justice Department.
Bates also pointed to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s previous remarks citing the Justice Department’s “complete independence” from the White House, noting: “She’s said many times that DOJ is independent when it comes to investigations.”
The Justice Department has not addressed many requests for comment from The Daily Signal regarding Republican accusations that the Biden administration is selectively enforcing the FACE Act against pro-life activists.
“Reproductive health care providers must be free to carry out their work free from interference or intimidation,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement earlier this month.
Clarke, who oversees the Justice Department’s investigations into potential FACE Act violations, has called pro-life centers “harmful” and “predatory” and called for exposing “fake clinics,” as The Washington Free Beacon’s Chuck Ross reports.
“Today’s #SCOTUS ruling striking down CA law that required crisis pregnancy centers to provide factual information about state-offered services, including abortions, will have harmful consequences for women, especially women of color who are often targeted by predatory CPCs [crisis pregnancy centers],” she tweeted in 2018.
“Make no mistake,” she tweeted later. “Today’s decision at the #SCOTUS striking down a CA disclosure requirement for crisis pregnancy centers is part of a coordinated strategy to tear down #RoevWade. The anti-choice movement will stop at nothing. #EndTheLies #ExposeFakeClinics”
When then-President Donald Trump’s administration created a religious liberty task force in 2018, Clarke called the move “shameful.”
“DOJ should be working to fight discrimination and protect the rights of vulnerable communities,” she said at the time. “Instead, [then-Attorney General] Jeff Sessions is launching a Religious Liberty Task Force to make it easier for people to use religion to mask their discriminatory goals. Shameful.”
“The Justice Department is committed to enforcing federal law to protect providers and all people seeking access to reproductive health care across our nation.”