Anti-Abortion Activists and Court Fear Retribution
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The release of an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that shows the US Supreme Court is preparing to strike down the Roe v. Wade decision, has predictably caused a flood of protests all over the country. Following the leak, a giant security fence was erected around the US Supreme Court; something that had not even been done to protect the US Capitol Complex on January 6.
Activists gathered Saturday in the rain outside the Maryland residences of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to protest the conservative majority opinion contained within the draft ruling. Protesters held signs that read, "Never Again" and "Don't Tread on My Choice."
Police were called to Senator Susan Collins' home on Saturday after a pro-abortion message was written in chalk on the sidewalk outside her residence in Maine. The chalked writing said: "Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA —–> vote yes, clean up your mess.”
Vandals struck an anti-abortion group office in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sunday, after a fire broke out and a Molotov cocktail was found, authorities said Sunday. No one was injured, and officials are still working to determine how much damage the fire caused and who is responsible. While it is not clear who vandalized the building, the message “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” was spray-painted on the external building.
A protest was held on Monday night at Justice Samuel Alito's house in Alexandria, Virginia, where activists chanted: "Abort the Court!" Shut Down DC, the activist group behind Monday's demonstration outside Justice Alito's house, said the plan was to "hold a moment of silence for the rights we know are ours."
A citywide police tactical alert was declared after a Tuesday night confrontation in Los Angeles when police clashed with approximately 250 people, who had been marching peacefully for abortion rights. It’s important to note that this was the only act of violence reported among demonstrations held around the country. There was no immediate word of any arrest, and the crowd in Los Angeles mostly dispersed after a large police presence was called in.
These events over the weekend caused a flurry of statements, calling on protesters to remain calm and to operate within the boundaries of legal restrictions. Roe v. Wade has been established law for 50 years, yet it appears that no one had really examined the cultural fallout from Republicans repealing the right to abortion. It also seems that many conservatives have failed to realize the advances in organization and activism that were gleaned from the Black Lives Matter Movement.
It’s inconceivable that anyone would try to tell women that they need to be lady-like in their protests when our basic human rights are at risk. We understand the slippery slope of overturning the right to legal abortion under the premise of state rights, because this is how conservative states will proceed to roll back all Civil Rights that have taken decades to establish. The next stop for the GOP will be the repeal of Obamacare, which is an extremely popular critical safety net that transcends gender issues and affects nearly every American.
We need to remind everyone about the reality of this struggle, which does involve tremendous violence and harassment from anti-abortion activists. In January, I wrote about the ongoing and pervasive violent attacks on abortion clinics and the link to other extremist groups:
Before throwing the firebomb at the reproductive health clinic, Gulick allegedly scrawled the words, “Deus Vult” in red spray paint, just below a clinic sign that reads, “Heath Care Happens Here.” The phrase, which means “God wills it” in Latin, had two crudely drawn religious symbols, a Marian Cross on the left and a Chi Rho symbol, which was used by the Roman Emporer Constantine, on the right.
Investigators for the Deleware clinic bombing found links to far-right ideology on Gulick’s social media accounts, specifically a personal Instagram page that contained “strong antiabortion ideology,” even comparing the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade to the genocidal policies enacted by the Nazis in the Holocaust.
Gulick’s extremist hobbies also appear to have gone well beyond anti-abortion extremism. On Tuesday, an archived version of Gulick’s Instagram account surfacedshowing references to other extreme ideologies, posts about guns, and veiled threats against abortion providers. In one post that compared Democrats who support access to abortion to Nazis, Gulick suggested murder: “When will we start shooting? It[‘]s about time we kill these genocidal demons.”
Gulick’s Instagram bio also allegedly included the “Deus Vult” phrase he was captured by security cameras spray-painting on the wall of the health clinic. The Latin slogan for “God wills it” was a battle cry used during the Crusades that has been linked to modern-day far-right activists and white supremacists who co-opted the phrase to hint at their fantasies about a religious war between Christians and Muslims.
These violent far-right attacks are ongoing now at the physical and judicial level, and should remain in the public focus, despite the Republican Party’s attempts to deflect their own unforgivable actions that threaten everyone’s Civil Rights. Until then, remember that the First Amendment protects your right to assemble and express your views through protest.
There will be massive nationwide protests on Saturday, May 14th. You can join Planned Parenthood for the Bans Off Our Bodies Day of Action, which will have at least four “anchor” marches in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles. “This is an all-hands on deck moment,” said Shaunna Thomas, executive director and co-founder of UltraViolet. Find a protest for your city and start making your fantastic sign now.
Make sure you’re prepared by brushing up on your rights before we head into a very active season of protesting. I will leave my direct messaging and email open on Saturday to field any legal questions or to help with legal issues as they arise. I will also continue to cover this critical issue, including how you can get involved leading into the Midterms. I recommend subscribing to this newsletter today, if you haven’t already.
Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and hosts the live SHERO podcast on Callin. She is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines, and analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.
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