Conservative nonprofits The Heritage Foundation and Advancing American Freedom (AAF) are suing the Department of Justice to obtain documents concerning the federal law enforcement response to violent attacks against pro-life organizations and individuals, the Daily Caller has learned.
At least 83 pro-life pregnancy centers and other organizations have been attacked and vandalized since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center was leaked in May 2022, according to CatholicVote. At least 141 Catholic Churches have been similarly targeted since the draft leak, the outlet reports. Attorney General Merrick Garland insisted on March 1 that the FBI and DOJ have committed their “full resources” to the investigation, but so far the bureau has made only two arrests stemming from the incidents.
The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Sept. 30 asking for documents related to internal communication within the DOJ on the subject of the attacks as well as communication between the DOJ and the White House on the subject. The DOJ has since been unresponsive, prompting Heritage to file a lawsuit, which was obtained exclusively by the Caller on Monday.
The complaint requests that the court order the DOJ “to conduct a search or searches reasonably calculated to uncover all records responsive to Plaintiffs’ FOIA request” and “to produce, within twenty days of the Court’s order, or by such other date as the court deems appropriate, and and all non-exempt records responsive to Plaintiffs’ FOIA Request and indexes justifying the withholding of any responsive records withheld in whole or in part under claim of exemption.”
SUPPORT LIFENEWS! To help us stand against Joe Biden’s abortion agenda, please help LifeNews.com with a donation!
“Merrick Garland and his top officials at the DOJ clearly hold us in contempt,” Mike Howell, a plaintiff in the case and the director of Heritage’s Oversight project, said in a statement. “They refuse to prosecute those who violently attack pro-life organizations simply for existing and who attempt to coerce and intimidate Supreme Court justices into ruling the way the mob desires. Meanwhile, they send SWAT teams to the homes of pro-life Americans to arrest and prosecute them on trumped-up, phony charges.”
In October, at least 15 armed FBI agents stormed the home of Catholic pro-life father Mark Houck over alleged FACE Act violations after Houck shoved an abortion clinic volunteer Houck says was verbally assaulting his son. The incident occurred nowhere near the entrance of an abortion clinic, legal representation for Houck told the Caller in January. Houck was found not guilty of the charges in January, but the federal case highlighted what some conservatives and pro-lifers have described as evidence of a strong pro-abortion bias in Garland’s DOJ.
“There are two standards for the application of justice in this country under Joe Biden and Merrick Garland, and Garland is a disgrace to the office he holds,” Howell said. “That’s why we asked for these documents, and it’s why the DOJ refuses to give them up — they know that what Americans would learn will not be pretty. That’s also why we’re not going to stop fighting until we get them.”
“We filed this lawsuit in the middle of the day, so there’s no reason for Garland and his team to miss it,” Howell quipped.
Garland said during congressional testimony in March that the reason the DOJ has prosecuted more pro-life activists than pro-abortion vandals is because pro-lifers tend to barricade clinics “during the daylight” while attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers typically take place at night.
AAF’s general counsel J. Marc Wheat accused the DOJ of being “fearful of igniting the wrath of the Far Left and abortion extremists” by prosecuting the vandals.
“The American people have a right to know why those who burned and vandalized pregnancy centers have not been held accountable for their violence against traditional conservatives and pro-life groups,” he said in a statement.
LifeNews Note: Sarah Weaver writes for Daily Caller. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience