FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed Thursday that there are multiple open investigations into domestic terrorist threats against pro-life organizations by the FBI’s joint terrorism task forces.
The director testified during a Senate oversight hearing that the FBI is thoroughly investigating all acts of violence committed by either side of the abortion debate in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
“I want to be crystal clear on this. From our perspective, 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 going to go after that conduct aggressively,” Wray said.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) had asked the director about how pro-abortion activists have violently targeted more than 82 churches and pro-life pregnancy centers in the months since the Supreme Court’s majority decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center was leaked in May. Crimes committed against pro-life groups have ranged from acts of vandalism to firebombings and other terroristic threats.
“How many domestic terrorism investigations does the FBI currently have open under the category of abortion-related violent extremism?” Lee asked.
“I don’t have the exact number, but I can tell you that we have opened a number of domestic violent extremism investigations using our joint terrorism task forces that are specifically focused on attacks or threats against churches, pro-life organizations, pregnancy resource centers, similar types of organizations,” Wray said.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) followed up after Lee and asked the director about threats by pro-life activists against abortion clinics or pro-choice people.
“We have seen violent threats, as noted, on both sides of the debate, but a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of a crisis pregnancy center in Nashville, arson at a Wyoming abortion clinic,” Klobuchar said. “I know that you have condemned violence, but could you talk a bit about what you’re seeing in terms of clinics themselves seeing threats?”
Wray said that “historically” there have been attacks against abortion clinics and pro-choice organizations and that since the Dobbs opinion was leaked, there has been “an intensification of violence across the issue.”
“But we have seen a notable uptick in violence, which we had not seen as much of before, directed at the kinds of organizations and facilities that Sen. Lee mentioned. But there’s absolutely the kind that you mentioned as well, and I think this is part of a larger phenomenon that we are experiencing in this country right now,” he continued.
“I understand that passions run high, especially on an issue like abortion, but there are just way too many people who seem to think that that justifies engaging in violence and destruction of property, threats of violence — you mentioned Molotov cocktails, I feel like every day I’m getting briefed on someone throwing a Molotov cocktail at someone for some issue. It’s crazy.”