In an appearance Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Merrick Garland was grilled by Republicans about the lack of arrests made so far after churches and pregnancy centers have been vandalized, set on fire, and threatened since a draft court opinion overturning Roe v Wade was leaked to Politico.
In an exchange with Sen. Mike Lee, Garland said attacks on abortion clinics are “quite easy” to solve because those perpetrators are being captured by surveillance cameras in daylight.
“Those who are attacking the pregnancy resource centers, which is a horrid thing to do, “Garland continued, “are doing this at night in the dark.”
Sen. Lee told the attorney general Wednesday there have been 81 attacks on pregnancy centers and 130 attacks on churches, most of them Catholic, since May of 2022.
In baseball terms, that would mean the U.S. Department of Justice is batting 1 for 211 after it announced the indictment of two abortion supporters in January for allegedly spray-painting threatening messages on pro-life facilities in Florida.
When AFN reported on those rare arrests two months ago, pro-life activists pointed out most attacks were going unsolved and predicted the DOJ was pretending to do its job because the Republican-led Congress was planning to grill top officials in coming weeks.
In that story and others, the reluctant but logical conclusion among pro-life activists is the abortion-supporting Biden administration views abortion opponents as the real “domestic terrorist” and is ignoring – or even cheering for – the attacks after Roe was overturned.
Garland's excuse called 'absurd'
LifeNews.com, the pro-life news service, has been keeping track of abortion-related incidents nationwide. That list has climbed to 260 by the time Garland testified this week. Many of the incidents in that list are misdemeanor crimes, such as an abortion supporter pushing a pro-life protester, but spray-painting a threatening message on a building – “if abortions aren't safe, neither are you” – meets the definition of domestic terrorism because it is meant to intimidate the victim.
Steven Ertelt, the LifeNews editor, told AFN Merrick’s excuse was “absurd” after more than 250 documented attacks so far.
“The fact is Merrick Garland is prioritizing the targeting of peaceful pro-life advocates, and doing as little as possible to hold violent abortion activists accountable,” Ertelt says, “which is a biased politicization of the Department of Justice that is supposed to be treating all crimes equally for the benefit of all Americans."
Jim Harden, whose CompassCare pregnancy center in Buffalo, New York was firebombed last June, complained at the time state Democrats allocated $10 million to increase security at abortion clinics across the state.
“We’re the ones whose facilities are burning,” complained Harden.
Back in September, Harden filed suit against the Amherst Police Department to get a copy of surveillance footage he handed over as part of the investigation of the CompassCare firebombing. The city refused, citing its ongoing investigation that was then three months old.
“We have a right to our own evidence," Harden told The Buffalo News. "We gave it to them in good faith, and we’re expecting to see it. After 104 days, their answer is still no."
In November, two months after Harden sued, Catholic News Agency reported the FBI released the CompassCare footage and asked for the public’s help in catching two masked suspects shown in the video.
Harden, who never got a copy of his own surveillance footage, told CNA the 19-second footage the public saw was heavily edited and hid the license plate of the two-door Dodge car they were driving.
Hardin said the FBI advised him the footage was edited to hide “key information” important to the case, which would include the automobile's license plate.
"These people who are doing this are clever and are doing it in secret," Garland told the Senate committee, "and I'm convinced that the FBI is trying to find them with urgency."