Approximately 70% of abortion-related threats of violence in the US since the Dobbs decision have been against pro-life groups, according to the head of the FBI.
FBI Director Christopher Wray gave the statistic while speaking at a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Sen. Rick Scott of Florida questioned Wray during the hearing about recurring accusations that the FBI is not committing resources to combat an escalation in crimes committed against pregnancy centers, churches and other pro-life institutions.
“My view — plainly expressed to all of our people, including in the context of abortion-related violence — is that I don’t care what side of the issue you’re on, you don’t get to engage in violence, and we are equal-opportunity when it comes to that,” Wray replied to Scott.
The FBI director went on to address the rising rate of violent threats and attacks against pro-life groups — the most explicit confirmation of the trend from FBI leadership thus far.
“Now, we have quite a number of investigations — as we speak — into attacks or threats against pregnancy resource centers, faith-based organizations and other pro-life organizations,” Wray continued. “And you might be interested to know that since the Dobbs Act decision, probably in the neighborhood of 70% of our abortion-related violence cases or threats cases are cases of violence or threats against […] pro-life organizations. And we’re going after that through our joint terrorism task forces, through our criminal authorities, FACE Act and things like that.”
“We have about 20 field offices involved in this. And so we take it very seriously. And again, I don’t care you’re motivated by pro-life views or pro-choice views. You don’t get to use violence to express it,” he added.
Scott, stating that he supported Wray’s strong tone in explaining the situation, expressed confusion as to why the FBI has not been more vocal in its prosecution of those who threaten or attack pro-life organizations.
The senator stated that following the press and outside reporting, the public would be forgiven for thinking the FBI was more concerned about prosecuting pro-life advocates than those who threaten them.
“We don’t have the time for me to tell how frustrated I sometimes get by some of the news reporting about our work and the misreporting of our work,” Wray replied. “The circumspection that we display with regard to discussing our investigations is based on rules and practices that are important to people having confidence in the integrity of our work and go back decades, multiple administrations.”