Letter to The Honorable Merrick B. Garland, Attorney General of US Department of Justice - Westerman Joins Push to Demand DOJ Action Following Extreme Violence on Pro-Life Organizations & Churches


Dear Attorney General Garland:

Since the leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on May 2,
2022, there have been at least 40 documented attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers and
churches.These attacks include incidences of vandalism, destruction of property, and even
firebombing.The radical group Jane's Revenge, which took credit for the May 2022 firebombing
of a pregnancy center in Madison, Wisconsin, has even declared it "open season" on pro-life
organizations and vowed to ramp up its offensive.

This tide of violence is likely to continue in the coming months as an official court opinion is
released. It is critical that the Department of Justice take steps now to protect pro-life pregnancy
centers and places of worship. The Clinton Administration took such steps to protect abortion
clinics, signing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act of 1994. The FACE Act
makes it a federal crime to use force, threats of force, physical obstruction, intentional injury, or
intimidation against clinics providing "reproductive health services" or places of worship, with penalties including both fines and imprisonment. It also makes it a federal crime to intentionally
damage or destroy the property of such clinics or places of worship. The clinics covered include
those offering "services relating to pregnancy."

During the 1990s the DOJ went so far as preemptively dispatching U.S. Marshals under the law
to guard abortion clinics across the country. In doing so, Attorney General Janet Reno was
responding to pro-abortion activists comparing acts of violence against abortion clinics to
violence against civil rights workers and students in the 1960s, saying that the federal
government was "using all federal tools" to protect abortion clinics. The U.S. Marshals Service
continued to protect abortion providers into the 2000s under both the Bush and Obama

The Supreme Court has likewise upheld related speech restrictions on First Amendment rights,
ruling a 36-foot protest "buffer zone" from abortion clinic entrances and driveways constitutional
in Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc. (1993) and a similar 15-foot buffer zone
constitutional in Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York (1997). In Hill v.Colorado (2000), the Court upheld a floating 8-foot protest buffer zone for passersby, writing that the legislation did not violate the content-neutrality test established under Ward v. Rock
against Racism (1989) because it did not apply to the "content of the demonstrators' speech" but
rather the location of that speech.

The assault on pro-life Americans' constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion must
be stopped. Given efforts from all three branches of government throughout the 1990s to protect
abortion, the means to fight back against this lawless behavior are already in place. We urge the
Department of Justice to aggressively and immediately take steps to stop the violence and protect
the rights of all Americans.