An abortion activist has been arrested to kill the pro-life Texas lawmakers who voted for the state’s abortion ban.
There have been a host of threats directed to pro-life elected officials, pro-life Texans and pro-life groups since the state’s abortion ban went into effect three weeks ago, including a bomb threat that brought out police to the headquarters of a local pro-life group.
Last week, law enforcement alerted members of the Texas Legislature about “a credible threat” to their safety.
In an email to lawmakers Tuesday, Kevin Cooper, the Department of Public Safety’s chief of government relations, said the agency had received “a CREDIBLE THREAT TO YOUR SAFETY from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a majority of you in the Texas Legislature.” Cooper said in a follow-up email that the threat “only applies to those members who may have voted for” the abortion bill that passed as Senate Bill 8 during the regular legislative session that ended in May.
The threat was apparently made on Reddit and included the names of House and Senate members who voted for the legislation. The user threatened to “end each one of you” and said the lawmakers at hand “are not people to me.”
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Now, official have arrested 20-year-old Austin Wendell Lund of Sentinel, Oklahoma in connection with the threats. Lund’s case is being prosecuted by the Payne County, Oklahoma District Attorney.
Republican State Representative Matt Shaheen of Plano, who supported the bill during the regular legislative session, said Wednesday he received a call from DPS Tuesday night and that he also spoke with the FBI about the threat. “You’re alarmed at first, but quite frankly, every once in a while, we receive these types of threats.”
A source said while lawmakers have received threats individually before, what’s different about this one is that so many were threatened at once. Representative Shaheen said the threat came in a post on the social media site Reddit by a man in Oklahoma. He said his name and those of 100 other lawmakers were included in the post, and that the man who made the threat mentioned legislative corpses. “It was disturbing. It’s obviously someone who has mental issues, a very angry person.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety declined comment, but in a statement said, “The Texas Department of Public Safety takes all matters of personal security and public safety very seriously and we do not discuss details of ongoing threats and investigations.”
Shaheen said, “It’s really, really simple to me. If there’s a little baby with a heartbeat, it deserves to live. The Declaration of Independence says we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights and among those are life. So that little baby is a little life.”
Texas Right to Life was forced to evacuate its Houston headquarters earlier this month over a bomb threat.
Texas Right to Life staff called local authorities around 10:15 a.m. September 10 after receiving an emailed bomb threat. When police arrived on the scene to report the threat, a postal worker delivered a suspicious package.
Officers immediately evacuated the building and called the Houston Police Department’s bomb squad. The bomb squad evaluated the package with an X-ray and determined the contents were not harmful.
Texas Right to Life Vice President Elizabeth Graham told LifeNews that her group will not be deterred from saving babies from abortion and enforcing the Texas ban.
“We understand that some people will use violence to achieve their ends. Sadly, the violence of abortion has been used for over 45 years so people can live as they wish; Texas Right to Life mourns violence both inside and outside of abortion facilities,” Graham said. “These recent crimes and conspiratorial acts against our work and our dedicated staff will not stop Texas Right to Life from ensuring that the Texas Heartbeat Act is enforced. We are resolved more than ever to strengthen programs and outreach to abortion-vulnerable women to empower them to choose Life.”
“Texas Right to Life did the right thing in contacting the police. It was fortunate that our officers were on scene when the suspicious package was delivered and we appreciate the occupants of the building working with police to quickly clear out in the event that this was an actual bomb,” the Bellaire police wrote in a press release.
Police officials said the bomb threat qualifies as a “terroristic threat,” a criminal offense which can earn a sentence of up to a $4,000 fine and nearly a year in jail.
She said that, since the Texas Heartbeat Act took effect September 1, abortion advocates threatened the lives and wellbeing of the leadership and staff of Texas Right to Life.
“However, Texas Right to Life is the oldest and largest statewide Pro-Life organization in Texas and has not wavered in this battle to protect Life since 1973. Texas Right to Life has taken proactive measures to ensure the safety of our staff since we began receiving violent messages online and by phone slightly before the Texas Heartbeat Act took effect. We are not deterred from our mission of protecting innocent human Life through legal, peaceful, and prayerful means,” she said.
Graham told LifeNews.com that the Texas Heartbeat Act rescues at least 100 pregnant women and unborn children per day from abortion.