The FBI has opened “a number” of domestic terror investigations into attacks on churches and pro-life centers since the leak of a Supreme Court abortion opinion that ultimately overturned Roe v. Wade, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said Thursday.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Wray said the bureau has begun domestic violent extremist investigations using several of its joint task forces with local law enforcement. He said the probes also are focused on attacks or threats against pregnancy resource centers.
Mr. Wray did not say how many investigations have been opened by the FBI but said probes were active in Iowa, North Carolina and Tennessee.
He said the FBI has seen a “notable uptick in violence” this year from both sides of the abortion debate, adding that the bureau had never before seen an increase like this.
“This is part of a larger phenomenon that we are experiencing in this country. I understand that passions run high, especially on an issue like abortion, but there are way too many people who think that justifies violence and destruction of property,” Mr. Wray said. “I feel like every day I’m getting briefed about someone throwing a Molotov cocktail against someone else. It’s crazy.”
Since a draft opinion of the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked in May, there have been at least 66 attacks on Catholic churches and 62 attacks on pregnancy resource centers, according to data from CatholicVote. Many of those attacks included graffiti with pro-abortion messages.
“From our perspective, I don’t care what side of the issue you are on. I don’t care who you are upset with or what you are upset about — abortion or anything else — you don’t get to use violence or the threats of violence to act on, and we are going to go after that conduct aggressively, and I feel strongly about that,” Mr. Wray told lawmakers.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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