2023 Witnessed Continued Attacks on Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers, Churches

Attacks continued throughout 2023, with the latest reported act of vandalism occurring this fall at a group of Catholic churches.

Vandalism of a pro-life display outside St. Paul Catholic Church in Fenton, Missouri on Oct. 3, 2023.
Vandalism of a pro-life display outside St. Paul Catholic Church in Fenton, Missouri on Oct. 3, 2023. (photo: Katherine Burns)

Pro-life institutions continued to be targets of pro-abortion attacks in 2023 following the landmark Supreme Court decision in June 2022 overturning Roe v. Wade

Roe, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide, was struck down on June 24 — the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus — with the decision on the Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” the majority opinion in the case said.

Before Roe’s downfall, news of the imminent Dobbs opinion was leaked to the media. Enraged pro-abortion activists began targeting Catholic churches as opportunities to disrupt worship. Some defaced churches with threatening graffiti, while others disrupted Mass by screaming and chanting pro-abortion slogans.

Just weeks before Roe’s overturn, an armed California man was arrested near the residence of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh for threatening to kill him. Kavanaugh sided with the majority in the Dobbs decision.

Pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life institutions came under attack as well. Some organizations were burned in arson attacks. Others were left threats written in graffiti. Many clinics had their windows smashed.

The attacks only got worse once Roe was officially overturned in June, and they continued throughout 2023, with the latest reported act of vandalism occurring this fall at a group of Catholic churches. 

The Attacks

In January, St. Stephen Catholic Church in Riverview, Florida, had a pro-life sign on its grounds vandalized, according to The Patch.

The sign, which said “Abortion stops a beating heart,” was graffitied with the words “Save the pro-choice mom.”

That same month, two hooded individuals were caught on camera vandalizing a pro-life pregnancy center in Houston. The leader of the clinic told CNA that the vandals wrote “Abortion for all” on the front of the clinic and glued the locks on the entrance of the facility.

In March, vandals smashed the windows of First Care pregnancy center in Minneapolis and spray-painted it with graffiti, saying: “If abortions arn’t safe neither r u” and “Jane was here.” 

Jane’s Revenge,” or iterations of it, such as “Jane was here,” became a calling card of sorts for dozens of pro-abortion vandals after the May 2022 leak from the Supreme Court. 

One clinic in New York that was spray-painted with “Jane’s Revenge” graffiti in 2022 in an arson attack was vandalized again this past March. 

The word “liars” was spray-painted in red capital letters across CompassCare’s sign at its 1230 Eggert Road, Amherst, location.

The same month police arrested 39-year-old Hannah Kamke in connection with the crime and charged her with one count of criminal mischief in the third degree, which is a Class E felony and holds a maximum penalty of up to four years’ imprisonment.

Kamke entered a plea agreement and avoided jail time, agreeing to pay $2,580 in restitution, according to Buffalo News

The vandals who set that clinic on fire last year and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages still have not been identified by police or the FBI, despite the bureau’s offer of a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. 

The following month, in April, the words “Liars,” “Fake clinic,” “Jane’s Revenge,” “Fund abortion,” and “Abort God,” were scrawled across Bowling Green Pregnancy Center, also known as HerChoice, in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Federal charges were filed against a 20-year-old college student in Ohio, Whitney Durant, who goes by the name Soren Monroe, for allegedly vandalizing the clinic.

Durant pled guilty this month in federal court to a misdemeanor under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and faces a maximum of one year in prison. Her sentencing is set for April 9, 2024.

The FACE Act prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”

Durant’s prosecution under the FACE Act is a milestone for the Department of Justice, which has disproportionately targeted pro-life activists under the statute.

Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said that “defacing facilities that provide reproductive health services will not be tolerated in our society” after Durant’s guilty plea.

In the past five months alone, the DOJ convicted nine pro-life activists under FACE Act charges related to the Oct. 22, 2020, sit-in in which they blocked access to the clinic’s abortion services, according to prosecutors.

During the blockade of the clinic, which was livestreamed on Facebook, some of those who sat inside the clinic can be seen praying the rosary and singing hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary while refusing to leave.

The most recent of the nine to be convicted is Paulette Harlow of Kingston, Massachusetts, 75, who has severe health issues and could face up to 11 years in prison.

In May, a Catholic-based clinic, JMJ Pregnancy Center in Orlando, Florida, had three mutilated animals left on its property consisting of a chicken, a large bird, and baby lamb.

The director of the clinic told CNA at the time that he thought “there was probably some kind of ritual that was involved.”

In July, a pregnancy center in Las Vegas was attacked with graffiti that said “Fraud,” among other words, according to 8 News Now. The “a” in fraud was drawn in the shape of an anarchist symbol.

In October, there were a series of pro-abortion attacks at Catholic churches in Ohio ahead of the state’s November referendum to enshrine abortion rights into law. That referendum ultimately passed.

Churches in Centerville, Cincinnati, Clifton, and Oxford had signs targeted that were encouraging Ohioans to vote no on the referendum. 

Incarnation Catholic Church in Centerville was targeted with graffiti in addition to its signs being vandalized. 

CNA has counted more than 60 pro-life pregnancy centers and almost 40 Catholic churches that have been targeted since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

In January, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning recent attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches. The resolution also called on the Biden administration to use law enforcement to keep the institutions safe.