White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre denied Monday that the administration is targeting anti-abortion activists, despite a recent rash of arrests, and refused to comment on attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers.
During a press briefing, a reporter asked: “Former President Donald Trump said the radical Democrats are locking up pro-life activists, persecuting their political opponents. Just what is your White House response?”
The Justice Department has arrested and charged 26 pro-life activists this year on charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law for protesting outside abortion clinics.
But Ms. Jean-Pierre was quick to deny the claim.
“Clearly that’s not true,” she said. “I’m not going to say more than that. It’s just not true. It’s false. It’s a lie. It’s not true. So I’m going to move on.”
The reporter followed up by saying “there’s this perception, though, that pro-life activists are being persecuted and in the meantime, pro-life pregnancy centers are being attacked.”
“That is just not something that I’m going to comment from here about what the former president said,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said. “I’m just not going to get any further.”
President Biden has not commented on the rash of attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and offices, which was triggered by the May 2 leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
At least 75 have been vandalized, and at least three that have been firebombed since the leak, according to the CatholicVote tracker.
The FACE Act also applies to pro-life pregnancy centers, but so far the FBI has announced no arrests in any of those attacks.
The radical pro-choice group Jane’s Revenge has claimed responsibility for some of the incidents, most of which feature pro-choice graffiti such as “if abortion isn’t safe neither are you.”
Pro-life activists facing charges include Mark Houck, who was arrested in a raid at his home by armed FBI agents in rural Pennsylvania for an October 2021 altercation with a Planned Parenthood volunteer in Philadelphia.
Local police declined to prosecute the case, and a judge threw out a civil suit.
Last month, 11 activists were charged with FACE Act violations for what the Justice Department described as a March 2021 “blockade” outside an abortion clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.
“The Justice Department and the FBI continuing to allow attacks on pro-life facilities and churches to go unabated, while pushing an anti-life agenda,” said a report released Friday by House Judiciary Committee Republicans.
The FBI said in a statement last month that the agency continues to investigate attacks and threats on pregnancy resource centers, adding that it “takes all violence and threats of violence very seriously.”