Once the Supreme Court releases the ruling that is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that made abortion a federally protected right, there is the potential for violence, so warns a Department of Homeland Security memo, Axios reported on Wednesday.
The memo, which is unclassified and dated May 13, states that the threats that came in the aftermath of the leak of a draft opinion "are likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the court's official ruling."
The type of threats that law enforcement agencies have been investigating since the leak include ones on social media calling for attacks at the Supreme Court building and even the murder of justices and their clerks, as well as violence against places of worship and abortion clinics.
The memo also warns that "individuals across a broad range of various DVE [domestic violent extremist] ideologies are attempting to justify and inspire attacks against abortion-related targets and ideological opponents at lawful protests," ABC News reported.
Abortion-related violence has usually been carried out by anti-abortion extremists, and the memo cites this as a current threat as well, but the bulletin warns that, this time, extremist acts could also come from those who back abortion rights, according to Axios.
However, the DHS said it "is committed to protecting Americans' freedom of speech and other civil rights and civil liberties, including the right to peacefully protest," stressing that "the mere advocacy of political or social positions, political activism, use of strong rhetoric, or generalized philosophic embrace of violent tactics does not constitute domestic violent extremism or illegal activity and is constitutionally protected."
But the memo does demonstrate that the Roe decision attracts extremists and that the DHS is mobilizing all relevant agencies in an attempt to get ahead of any possible civil unrest.
Axios pointed out that even before the Supreme Court leak, the Biden administration had already concentrated on efforts to combat domestic violent extremism, with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas calling it one of the greatest terrorism-related threats to the United States.
State-level hubs for providing threat-related information, called regional fusion centers, are already sounding the alarm, with a Nevada counterterrorism agency, for example, raising concerns about the potential impact of the court decision on the safety of election workers for this year's midterms.
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