Attorney General Merrick Garland said during Congressional testimony Tuesday that “it is quite easy” to prosecute pro-life protesters because they are often photographed in daylight.
“I will say you’re quite right, there are many more prosecutions with respect to the blocking of the… of the abortion centers but that is generally because they are… those actions are taken with photography at the time, during the daylight and seeing the person who did it is quite easy,” Garland said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing as he was questioned by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.
“Those who are attacking the pregnancy resources centers, which is a hard thing to do, are doing this at night in the dark,” Garland added.
Since the leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in May, dozens of crisis pregnancy centers and pro-life groups have been vandalized or otherwise attacked. One crisis pregnancy center hired a private investigator to look into a firebombing in Buffalo, New York.
The Supreme Court upheld Mississippi’s law that imposed restrictions on abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy in a 6-3 ruling issued on June 24.
The Justice Department came under fire following multiple high-profile indictments of pro-life protesters after the Dobbs ruling, including Mark Houck, who was accused of assaulting a Planned Parenthood escort. Houck was acquitted by a jury Jan. 30 following a trial in federal court.
“[The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act] applies equally in both cases and we apply the law equally,” Garland told the Senate committee, saying the DOJ issued rewards for information about the attacks on crisis pregnancy centers.
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