Americas

FBI has opened 'a number' of abortion-related violence probes: Director

Christopher Wray says bureau has tracked 'general intensification of violence' targeting abortion advocates, opponents

Michael Hernandez   | 04.08.2022
FBI has opened 'a number' of abortion-related violence probes: Director

WASHINGTON

The FBI has opened "a number" of investigations into abortion-related violent crime, Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers Thursday amid heightened tensions following the Supreme Court's decision to remove federal protections for the procedure.

Wray said the bureau has launched several "domestic violent extremism investigations" that are probing a series of attacks or threats of violence, noting that since a draft of the Supreme Court's opinion leaked in May there has been a "general intensification of violence across the issue, but we have seen a notable uptick in violence which we had not seen as much as before" targeting anti-abortion organizations, activists, and churches.

"I don't care what side of the issue you're on, I don't care who you're upset with or what you're upset about, on abortion or anything else you don't get to use violence or threats of violence to act on it, and we're gonna go after that conduct aggressively," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I understand that passions run high, especially on an issue like abortion, but there are just way too many people that justifies engaging in violence, destruction of property and threats of violence," he added.

Senator Mike Lee said earlier there have been 82 attacks on churches and pregnancy centers, and Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar pointed to attacks on women's health center staff and patients that "increased 128% over the previous year, including a 600% increase in stalking."

Wray said that when Politico reported that the Supreme Court was set to overturn the Roe V. Wade decision, the ruling that made abortion legal in the US, the FBI "put out a directive to all of our field offices to be looking actively for potential threats."

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