Paxton Asks For Investigation Into Violence Against Anti-Abortion Groups

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton | Image by KXXV

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to investigate threats and violence against anti-abortion groups.

The letter claims there has been “a recent spate of terroristic threats and acts directed at pro-life organizations around the country” and accuses Garland of inaction.

“Inaction is intolerable in our nation of laws, and it violates your oath of office,” the letter reads. “Yet, in recent weeks, you have continued to allow illegal actions seemingly because they advance (in the minds of some) the pro-abortion cause.”

The letter continues the investigation should begin with “Jane’s Revenge,” a pro-abortion group that has reportedly targeted crisis pregnancy centers in the past. These centers are non-profit organizations set up by anti-abortion advocates to support and counsel pregnant women to encourage alternatives to abortions. Many offer services such as parenting classes or work programs and provide diapers or formula.

“It is the federal government’s job to protect the American people against violent acts, threats, and persecution,” Attorney General Paxton said in a press release. “This should not change if those citizens are conservative, pro-life, or align with a political party this administration opposes.”

A memo published Friday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned that churches, judges, and abortion providers would be at a heightened risk of violence “for weeks.”

The memo cited the Supreme Court ruling on abortion and the expected changes in state laws and ballot measures stemming from the decision.

The DHS specifically identified “Jane’s Revenge” as “a network of loosely affiliated suspected violent extremists,” saying it had been linked to several threats calling for a “night of rage” over the ruling.

The agency said the group claimed responsibility for vandalizing a building that houses an anti-abortion group and a Congress member’s campaign office, as well as for at least three arson attacks since May targeting anti-abortion organizations and pregnancy centers in Oregon, New York, and Wisconsin.

Other prominent pro-abortion groups released a joint statement denouncing violence and threats.

“We reject the tactics and threats of groups that use destruction and violence as a means to an end. They do not speak for us, our supporters, our communities, or our movement,” Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Liberate Abortion Campaign said.

“We are committed to protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive freedoms through peaceful, non-violent organizing and activism,” the groups added. “People deserve to both provide and access abortion care in a safe and supportive environment.”

Still, the DHS memo said groups and people on both sides of the abortion argument were at risk.

“We anticipate that this could be a tinderbox situation,” said Lisa Kaplan, founder and CEO of Alethea Group, which conducted research into violent content posted online after the Supreme Court¬†ruling.

Alethea is a technology company that “detects, assesses and mitigates disinformation and misinformation threats,” according to its site.

“On social media platforms, we are seeing politically-charged calls to violence from the left and the right in response to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision,” Kaplan said.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost led the letter that included the signatures of attorneys general from 19 other states, including Texas, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

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