Pro-life pregnancy center suffers vandalism less than a year after firebombing
( Christian Post )
A pregnancy care center firebombed last year has been vandalized again as concerns about pro-abortion violence and the federal government’s handling of the matter persist.
CompassCare, a network of pro-life pregnancy centers in upstate New York that gained national attention after its Buffalo office was firebombed last June amid a wave of pro-abortion violence, released a statement Thursday announcing its Buffalo location was vandalized again Wednesday night.
Video footage shows a lone perpetrator using red spray paint to deface the facility’s sign with the word “liars.”
CompassCare CEO Rev. Jim Harden called the latest attack on his facility an example of "domestic terror."
Reiterating his previous assertions that the federal government has not responded adequately to the wave of vandalism targeting pro-life organizations, Harden insists that "those in the FBI and [Department of Justice] who refuse to treat it as such need to be fired and investigated."
"This is an act of intimidation and a violation of the [Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act]," he argues. "America needs to return to a civilized order."
CompassCare suggested the vandalism is consistent with "typical Antifa/Jane's Revenge fashion."
Last year, following the leaked draft of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, a group known as Jane's Revenge declared "open season" on pro-life organizations. The collective of abortion activists has taken responsibility for multiple instances of pro-abortion violence, including the June 7 firebombing of CompassCare.
"Maoist Antifa sympathizers oddly insist that Christian pro-life pregnancy centers mislead and enslave women," CompassCare claimed in its statement, adding that they subscribe to a "political philosophy that is anti-Christian and anti-capitalist, wrongly believing women are forced to have their babies thereby becoming a permanent socio-economic underclass."
Harden contends that "CompassCare dignifies women with true choice."
"[A]nd there's nothing Antifa can do to make us stop," Harden said. "All people are made in the image of God and are equally valuable — both the mother and the child. The love of God triumphs over terror."
The wave of attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers, pro-life activist organizations and churches date back to just after Politico's May 2022 publication of the leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.
The draft decision revealed that the justices were prepared to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and declare that the U.S. Constitution does not contain a right to abortion.
The leaked draft and the Dobbs decision released on June 24 sparked violent outrage among some pro-abortion activists. Acts of vandalism have continued since then.
Harden has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of the federal government's response to the criminal acts targeting abortion opponents.
The FBI offered a $25,000 reward in November for information leading to the arrests of those responsible for the firebombing of CompassCare five months after the incident.
Harden believes the reward was "nothing more than an attempt to appear evenhanded, bolstering their reputation ahead of more investigations by the House Judiciary Committee into the FBI's abdication of duty to investigate violence against pro-life organizations."
"If they are serious about finding the perpetrators, they will offer a $25K reward for each of the 150 pro-life organizations that have been attacked — $3.75 million," he said.
CompassCare partnered with the Thomas More Society to hire private investigators to search for the perpetrators of last year's attack on his charity and those responsible for the vandalism of pro-life pregnancy centers nationwide.
In a previous interview with The Christian Post, Harden characterized his interactions with federal law enforcement as "spotty and in many ways unprofessional and somewhat manipulative."
Harden recalled a conversation he had with an FBI investigator on the day of the Dobbs decision, where he asked "if federal law enforcement had allocated any additional resources to protect life organizations because Jane's Revenge, the pro-abortion terrorist group that firebombed our facility, was promoting a night of rage." Harden told CP that the official told him that "he didn't have to answer to us and … he wouldn't talk to me again."
Harden said he didn't hear back from the FBI until after lawmakers sent a letter to the law enforcement agency expressing concern about the response to the vandalism.
"Three hours later, after that letter was released, I got a text message from the FBI. They wanted to talk about how we were portraying the FBI in the media," he said.
"They didn't want to talk about the investigation. They didn't want to talk about the perpetrators. They wanted to talk about their reputation," he lamented.
Within two months of the attack on CompassCare that sent two firefighters to the hospital, CompassCare's Buffalo facility was rebuilt and ready for usage, thanks to pro-life supporters.
"We had to replace all the windows, all the doors, the entire ceiling, all the flooring, many walls had to be redone," he said.
He described the swift reopening as "nothing short of a miracle."
Despite Harden's displeasure, not all criminal acts targeting pro-life centers have gone unprosecuted.
In January, a federal grand jury indicted two activists — Caleb Freestone, 27, and Amber Smith-Stewart, 23 — for vandalizing pro-life pregnancy centers in Florida. Under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, they were charged for engaging "in a conspiracy to prevent employees of reproductive health services facilities from providing those services."
The activists were accused of "using threats of force to intimidate and interfere with the employees of a reproductive health services facility in Winter Haven because those employees were providing or seeking to provide reproductive health services" as well as "intentionally damaging and destroying the facility's property because the facility provides reproductive health services." If convicted, they face up to 12 years in prison and fines of up to $350,000.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland was questioned during a U.S. Senate hearing about the apparent disparity in treatment between pro-life protesters at abortion clinics and pro-choice activists who have vandalized pregnancy care centers.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, claimed from 2022 to early 2023, the Justice Department charged 34 pro-life activists for “blocking access to or vandalizing abortion clinics” while two individuals have been charged for vandalizing pro-life churches and pregnancy care centers.
Garland assured that “the FACE Act applies equally to efforts to damage, blockade clinics, whether they are a pregnancy resource center or they are an abortion center.”
“You are quite right, there are many more prosecutions with respect to the blocking of the abortion centers, but that is generally because those actions are taken with photography at the time, during the daylight,” Garland said. “Seeing the person who did it is quite easy.”
"Those who are attacking the pregnancy resource centers, which is a horrid thing to do, are doing this at night, in the dark," he added.
Stressing that federal law enforcement has put out rewards, Garland stated that “the Justice Department and the FBI have made outreach to Catholic and other organizations to ask for their help in identifying the people who are doing this.”