The attacks, especially against pro-life pregnancy centers, started in full force in May after a draft opinion in a Supreme Court case that could overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked to Politico. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost wonders about the slow response from the Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
"You might recall they've been very quick with the school board protests during the COVID era," Yost tells AFN. "They've put everybody on full alert and said Hey, we need all of our federal and local partners to be watching for violence at school boards – even when there wasn't any violence; it was just words."
But Yost explains that the pro-lifers are experiencing real violence – and the silence, he says, is deafening. In hopes of generating some action, the Ohio attorney general has authored a letter to AG Garland saying the Justice Department really ought to do its job.
"Even more so, it's time for him to lead," he urges, referring to Garland. "It's time [for him] to stand up and say it doesn't matter which side of an issue you're on; in America, debate stops where you start destroying property or hurting other people. It's free speech, not free violence."
Nineteen other state attorney generals have signed Yost's letter to Garland calling the lack of action "intolerable," politically motivated, and in violation of his oath of office. It concludes: "Political violence – no matter the cause, and no matter the perpetrator – must be punished, and harshly."
Help for potential targets
As violence against pro-life pregnancy centers continues and the federal government is just now entering the picture to conduct investigations, some pro-life organizations may soon be eligible to provide more security for their staff and facilities.
Andrea Trudden of Heartbeat International explains the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering a program for victimized non-profits, or those who feel threatened, in the form of grants.
"[These organizations] do not have a lot of money. let alone a lot of money set aside in order to cover these unexpected costs," Trudden tells AFN. "[Of course] insurance definitely can play a part, and very kind donors absolutely are stepping in – but it's good to see that the government, through FEMA, is offering this program for non-profits to tap into as well."
Significant damage has already been done to pro-life pregnancy centers throughout the country, but according to Trudden the federal funds won't come quickly.
"This is just an application period at the moment for grants to actually start being put out and beginning September 1," she shares. "So, it's not in this moment right now; however, it is something that we are making certain all of our affiliates and pregnancy help network is aware of so that they can look to see what's available in their state and apply as needed."