In its just-published report, Religious Freedom Institute documented the string of attacks across the U.S. and examined the “threat environment” that emerged after the draft of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling was leaked and published in early May.
After the attacks began, pro-life websites LifeSiteNews and LifeNews began tracking and documenting them through the summer months, first after the draft ruling was leaked May 2, and then after the high court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24. In a similar effort to document attacks, Catholic News Agency created an online tracker after numerous Catholic churches were vandalized.
By late July, when the attacked had slowed, CNA had documented 95 incidents of which a majority were churches and pregnancy centers.
Nathaniel Hurd, a spokesman for Religious Freedom Institute, tells AFN some arrests, but not many, have been made despite the long string of vandalism and even fire bombings.
“It used to be that if a place of worship or religious organization was attacked, was set on fire or attacked in some other way, everyone would condemn it. And government authorities, particularly law enforcement, would respond swiftly and strongly,” he warns. “But there seems to be a different standard for people who are pro-life.”
Firebombed group demands update
Back in May, it sounded inconceivable to suggest abortion-supporting politicians and police officers would shrug at criminal acts committed against abortion opponents but, looking back over the summer, that appears to be the stark reality.
After the office of Wisconsin Family Action was firebombed May 7, AFN reported how the City of Madison’s police chief sympathized with the attackers in a statement that failed to clearly condemn what was, by legal definition, a case of domestic terrorism in her own city.
After May turned to June, then July, then the summer had ended, Wisconsin Family Action announced last week it filed a public records request with the Madison Police Department to learn if the department investigated the arson attack.
In the press release, WFA president Julaine Appling said her group had cooperated with the police department, the FBI, and the ATF, and by now there must be “something to report” after three months had passed. The group, she said, has been told nothing.
“We are not against law enforcement in any way,” Appling said, “but we do believe this attack merits aggressive investigation and ongoing reports and updates to us as to any progress.”
In its own updated story, also published Sept. 15, LifeSiteNews reported the FBI has not made any arrests after the summer of attacks, even though a shadowy group named Jane's Revenge claimed responsibility for the violence and gave its motive: the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling. By now, considering its willingness to monitor and investigate Facebook posts, it seems unlikely the FBI has yet to learn the name or names behind Jane’s Revenge.
Back in the RFI report, the group cited just two incidents – in Buffalo, New York and in Portland, Oregon – to demonstrate how the attackers have gone unpunished. The attack in Portland happened at a church, where a pregnancy center operated, and the Buffalo attacked caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to CompassCare Pregnancy Services. No arrests have been made in either incident.
Not only did law enforcement fail to prosecute the CompassCare vandals but a new state law – passed days after the attack – allows the State of New York to investigate the pregnancy center for "misleading" pregnant women about its non-abortion services.