Justice Delayed

A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER: The news that the FBI is going to investigate attacks on crisis pregnancy centers and Catholic churches is a welcome, if overdue, development.

 Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid testify before the House Homeland Security Committee in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on November 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid testify before the House Homeland Security Committee in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on November 15, 2022 in Washington, DC. (photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty)

At last, more than six months after the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision sparked an ongoing wave of violent attacks against crisis pregnancy centers and Catholic churches, the FBI has finally moved forward publicly with its investigation into one of these deplorable acts of violence.

This is welcome news, so far as it goes. But the problem is, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. 

Under the control of the abortion extremism of the current administration, it remains indisputable that the Department of Justice has prioritized the prosecution of pro-life protesters who demonstrate at abortion facilities, far ahead of acting to stem the wave of coordinated violence that pro-abortion activists have unleashed against pro-life pregnancy centers.

On Nov. 14, the FBI’s local office in Buffalo announced a reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the June 7 firebombing and acts of vandalism at the CompassCare pregnancy center in upstate New York. The FBI, which is the DOJ’s law enforcement agency, also released a poster featuring video captures of two masked assailants, as well as the Dodge Dart they used in carrying out the violent attack.

It’s worth noting here how utterly hypocritical the attack on CompassCare was, coming as it did from self-identified members of the so-called “Jane’s Revenge” organization that purports to support women’s “choice” with respect to having an abortion. CompassCare’s services, advising women in crisis pregnancy about alternatives to aborting their babies and providing them with needed medical and emotional support to address whatever difficulties they are experiencing, don’t interfere in any way with an expectant mother’s choice. Instead, they expand her choices.

Moreover, such crisis pregnancy centers extend their services freely to women who aren’t contemplating abortion — these are equal-opportunity life-affirming agencies whose central mission is to empower any woman who comes to them for help.

As for the belated federal move to offer a reward, and publish the poster with the video captures of the pro-abortion assailants and their vehicle, it’s important to point out that this video information was in the hands of local law enforcement officials for months before the local FBI office made its Nov. 14 announcement. 

So why the delay? And why haven’t there been many similar actions undertaken to locate and prosecute the perpetrators of the more than 70 other incidents that have similarly targeted other peaceful and law-abiding pro-life pregnancy centers? 

Speaking before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray insisted that it’s false to assert that his agency has concentrated only on investigating cases of alleged misconduct by pro-life protesters outside of abortion facilities while ignoring the wave of much more serious crimes committed since May by pro-abortion zealots against crisis pregnancy centers. Catholics and other pro-life Americans would like to take Wray at his word. But his assertion won’t be credible if it’s not followed up with a comprehensive — and publicly visible — prioritization of investigating all the incidents, not merely one of them.

This is especially necessary considering Attorney General Merrick Garland’s creation of a so-called “Reproductive Rights Task Force” in the immediate aftermath of the formal release of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in late June. As I noted previously in this space, it has been transparent that the sole purpose of this task force for the DOJ is to thwart Dobbs from taking effect as much as is legally possible, under the leadership of its current pro-abortion-rights attorney general. 

But the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (the so-called FACE Act) — which Garland, in his task-force announcement promised to utilize aggressively to prosecute those who protest outside abortion facilities — also applies very specifically to attacks undertaken against pregnancy centers. Further, it applies very specifically to attacks against Catholic churches, which have similarly been targeted across the nation by pro-abortion extremists in recent months. And the simple reality is that the Dobbs-related violence has been directed primarily against churches and pro-life facilities, as Wray himself acknowledged during his November congressional testimony.

Yet, over the course of this year, the DOJ has wielded the FACE Act exclusively to file charges against pro-life protesters — and not against even a single one of the pro-abortion arsonists and vandals responsible for the continuing post-Dobbs attacks on churches and pro-life centers.

This consistently one-sided application of the law gives reason to wonder if the long-delayed ramping up of the FBI’s investigation of the CompassCare attack was triggered by the upcoming handover of control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Republican Party. This shift means that Garland and Wray can expect to be summoned before the House on a regular basis to defend their application of the law, should there be a continuation of the blatant pro-abortion-rights bias that the DOJ has openly displayed throughout Joe Biden’s presidency.

Whatever has been the cause for the federal failure to prioritize investigation and prosecution of the criminals responsible for the despicable wave of violence against our nation’s pregnancy centers and Catholic churches, a new approach is long overdue. Going forward, each and every attack merits the DOJ’s and FBI’s full attention. So, as faithful Catholics, we should redouble our prayers for a more even-handed application of our nation’s laws. And we should reinforce this spiritual action by contacting our federal elected leaders directly, to insist on this same point of fundamental legal fairness.

God bless you!

Mark Houck surrounded by his children at home.

The Department of Injustice

A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER: Recent dramatic arrests of pro-life activists beg scrutiny over the political biases at work as more than a 100 violent acts against churches and pro-life facilities have seemingly escaped federal attention.

Lorie Smith is a Christian website designer.

Creative Fireworks

A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER: In the potentially landmark case 303 Creative v. Elenis, the Supreme Court has the opportunity — and constitutional obligation — to embrace the Catholic understanding of the human person and our fundamental conscience rights.