The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is being sued over what’s being described as its ‘inadequate response’ to violence against pro-life supporters and buildings.
It follows a wave of pro-abortion vandalism and attacks on churches and pro-life pregnancy centres in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn its 49-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling on nationwide abortion rights.
Conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation and former Vice-President Mike Pence’s advocacy organisation Advancing American Freedom filed the lawsuit.
Their complaint asserts that the federal agency has taken insufficient action to address the violence.
According to the Christian Family Research Council there were at least 57 church vandalism incidents from January 2022 to September 2022 directly tied to pro-abortion protests or contained pro-abortion messages.
The Christian Post reports the number of incidents may have declined, but the violence is still taking place.
On September 30 last year several advocacy organisations, including CatholicVote sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DOJ which noted that the agency had “repeatedly failed to respond” to CatholicVote’s previous concerns.
The request sought records related to, or containing “communications internal to the DOJ on the subject of, crimes or investigations of crimes against pro-life organisations.”
On February 27, nearly five months after the request was submitted, the FBI informed the applicants that it had closed the request because it did not “contain enough descriptive information to permit a search of our records.”
The lawsuit characterised this failure to respond to the FOIA request as a violation of federal law and DOJ regulations.
The plaintiffs are seeking a court order for the DOJ to conduct a search to uncover all records responsive to the FOIA request and produce all relevant documents within 20 days of the order.
“The American people have a right to know why those who burned and vandalised pregnancy centres have not been held accountable for their violence against traditional conservatives and pro-life groups,” said Advancing American Freedom general counsel J. Marc Wheat.
The Christian Post notes that the Republican-led US House of Representatives passed a resolution earlier this year declaring that: “The Biden administration has failed to take action to respond to the radical attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches, or to protect the rights of these organisations.”
Meanwhile, police have arrested a suspect in connection with a recent vandalism attack on a CompassCare pro-life pregnancy center in Buffalo, New York.
CompassCare CEO Jim Harden noted the FBI had less evidence for the March 16 vandalism than they did for a June 7 firebombing, “yet they were able to identify a suspect and make an arrest within days.”
“We’ve been saying all along that the FBI possesses this kind of forensic power but has chosen not to employ it on behalf of pro-life people when victimised by pro-abortion Maoist Antifa,” he added.
On Tuesday (March 28), more than 10 months after the firebombing of a pro-life organisation’s headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, the Department of Justice announced an arrest had been made in connection with the attack.