United States Attorney General Merrick Garland admitted that the Department of Justice [DOJ] has prosecuted more pro-life activists than pro-abortion extremists following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, but blamed the timing of alleged crimes for the discrepancy.
“I will say, you are quite right: there are many more prosecutions with respect to blocking of the abortion centers. But that is generally because those actions are taken with photography at the time, during the daylight, and seeing the person who did it is quite easy,” Garland told Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) during a Wednesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. He went on:
Those who are attacking the pregnancy resource centers, which is a horrid thing to do, are doing this at night, in the dark. We have put full resources on this. We have put rewards out for this. The Justice Department and the FBI have made outreach to Catholic and other organizations to ask for their help in identifying the people who are doing this.
Garland’s comments were in response to a question by Sen. Lee asking if the DOJ has unevenly invoked the FACE Act to go after pro-life activists in the wake of the Dobbs decision — despite the fact the most abortion-related attacks following the decision have been against pro-life organizations and churches. Lee posed the question:
In 2022, and for the first couple of months of 2023, the DOJ announced charges against 34 individuals for blocking access to or vandalizing abortion clinics. And there have been over 81 reported attacks on pregnancy centers — 130 attacks on Catholic churches since the leak of the Dobbs decision, and only two individuals have been charged. So how do you explain this disparity by reference to anything other than politicization of what’s happening there?
Garland further told Lee that the FACE Act, which outlaws “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services,” applies equally to pro-life pregnancy resource clinics and abortion clinics.