It’s no secret that the Biden Justice Department appears to be highly politicized—and now Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is underscoring that.
Asked Thursday about the indictment this week of two pro-abortion activists in Florida on charges of spray-painting threats on the exterior of a pregnancy resource center, DeSantis said he was “surprised” the case had moved forward since “the Department of Justice had not been willing to hold those types of perpetrators accountable.”
“Meanwhile, on the other side, you could have a pro-life advocate [with] a picket sign and they’re going to treat him like he’s some hardened criminal,” the Republican governor added, saying there is a “massive imbalance” in how pro-life and pro-abortion activists are treated by federal law enforcement.
The indictments were a “step in the right direction,” DeSantis said, noting that there should be accountability for those trying “to intimidate these crisis pregnancy centers.”
The governor called on the Justice Department to change its approach.
“The DOJ has been asleep at the wheel on this for a long time,” DeSantis said. “So I’m glad to see it, I am surprised to see it. But they need to do a lot more.”
The facts back up DeSantis’ take.
Since the leak of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last May, an astonishing 79 pregnancy resource centers and pro-life organizations have been vandalized or attacked, according to a CatholicVote tracker.
Yet, despite these scores of attacks, only two pro-abortion activists appear to have been indicted. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request from The Daily Signal asking whether any additional arrests were made in attacks on pro-life organizations or pregnancy resource centers.
Even a pregnancy resource center a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building and about two miles from the Justice Department wasn’t spared: In June, a vandal or vandals doused the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center’s front door in red paint and painted the words “Jane Says Revenge”—a reference to the domestic terrorist group Jane’s Revenge—on the exterior of the center.
Other pregnancy resource centers and pro-life organizations have been subjected to even more violent attacks. CompassCare Pregnancy Services, near Buffalo, New York, was firebombed June 7. Life Choices, a pregnancy resource center in Colorado, was firebombed in June, as was Wisconsin Family Action, a pro-life organization.
Susan Campbell, director of the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, Virginia, described a June 25 attack on the center in an interview with The Daily Signal.
“They had taken crowbars to almost all of our windows, two of our doors, and just shattered all of the glass,” Campbell said. “They had spray-painted [the shapes of] coat hangers on the sidewalks, on the brick facing of the buildings, and [wrote] political things like ‘Vote blue.’”
“In red on the stamped concrete, it read ‘If abortion ain’t safe, you ain’t safe,’” she added.
In stark contrast, the Justice Department took action on several pro-lifers accused of violating the FACE Act, a law that is supposed to apply to both abortion clinics and pregnancy centers.
In March, the Justice Department announced the indictment of nine people for violating the FACE Act. In September, the FBI arrested a pro-life dad of 11, Mark Houck, for allegedly pushing a pro-abortion activist who he said was harassing his son. According to Houck’s attorney, Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, “20-plus heavily armed federal agents with shields and long guns” came to the Houck home in Pennsylvania to arrest him.
In October, the Justice Department announced the indictment of 11 pro-life activists in Tennessee on charges of violating the FACE Act. Paul Vaughn of Centerville, Tennessee, told The Daily Signal that when he was arrested, the FBI came to his home with “guns pointed at the door.”
“When I opened the door and saw the guns pointed at me, I asked them what they wanted, who they were looking for, and they said they wanted me,” Vaughn said.
Nor should the DOJ’s actions come as a surprise.
My colleague Mary Margaret Olohan reported in December that a top DOJ official, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, “described the overturn of Roe v. Wade as a ‘devastating blow to women throughout the country’ that took away ‘the constitutional right to abortion’ and increased ‘the urgency’ of the DOJ’s work—including the ‘enforcement of the FACE Act, to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.’”
The Justice Department should be enforcing the law, not making politically driven decisions about what cases to prioritize and which to ignore.
DeSantis is right to call out the Justice Department. Let’s hope that attacked and vandalized pregnancy resource centers get justice sooner rather than later.
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