Security heightened as SCOTUS abortion ruling looms

Politics

(NewsNation) — Protests continue ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision in a Mississippi case that could sharply reduce abortion access nationwide — and in some areas, eliminate it entirely.

Attacks on groups from either side of the issue are ramping up as the future of Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance. The Department of Homeland Security issued the following advisory in a June 7 bulletin:  

“Given a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case about abortion rights, individuals who advocate both for and against abortion have, on public forums, encouraged violence, including against government, religious, and reproductive healthcare personnel and facilities, as well as those with opposing ideologies.”

Over the weekend, a group protested outside the home of conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett and in Washington D.C., a pregnancy center that offers alternatives to abortion was defaced with red paint. Police in Wyoming also released video and a photo earlier this month of a woman they say set fire to an abortion clinic. The Women’s Health Clinic in Wyoming was the only clinic statewide to offer abortions.

The recent attacks have prompted FBI investigations, and alerted officers to watch for future threats, according to former FBI agent Phil Andrew.

“Any kind of threat that is designed to influence people’s is going to get a federal response and they’re going to do the best they can to investigate,” Andrew said.

Some safeguards are already in place.

Fourteen states and D.C. prohibit certain actions aimed at abortion providers, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights research nonprofit.

Of those, three states have established bubble zones that limit protesters’ physical access to a clinic entrance or driveway.

On the other side of the aisle, a recent threat against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh set additional safety measures in motion. Justices already have security at their homes and at the courthouse. On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed a bill extending protection to the justices’ immediate family members.

The person accused of threatening Kavanaugh did not make any known-statements to police regarding the justice’s stance on abortion.

Security concerns reach further than the Supreme Court.

After a firebombing at a Buffalo New York anti-abortion pregnancy center, CompassCare CEO Jim Harden relocated with his family, according to a post on the center’s website.

The post went on to say that people on social media were encouraging others to find Harden’s home.

Violence arising form debate over abortion rights is decades in the making.

From 1977 to 2015, anti-choice extremists directed more than 7,200 reported acts of violence at abortion providers, according to the Naral Pro Choice America. That includes bombings, arson attacks, death threats, hate mail and harassing calls.

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