Law enforcement authorities across the country are preparing for the possibility of violence and civil unrest in reaction to the impending Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, according to intelligence bulletins and other internal reports obtained by Yahoo News.
Authorities are on alert for fallout from the ruling, according to law enforcement documents and interviews with government officials tracking the potential threats. A February situational awareness bulletin produced by the Colorado Information Analysis Center warns that challenges to Roe v. Wade, specifically the Mississippi case that could lead to Roe’s reversal, may inspire civil unrest and violent incidents.
The Feb. 18 bulletin is dated days after the draft opinion dated Feb. 10 suggesting that the Supreme Court plans to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The leaked opinion, published Monday evening by Politico, sparked protests across the U.S. on Tuesday, including a violent clash between police and protesters in Los Angeles.
The Colorado regional intelligence center shared the bulletin with local, state and federal law enforcement across the country via the Department of Homeland Security’s information-sharing platform.
“Law enforcement and public safety officials should anticipate an increase in abortion-related events, rallies, and protests with the potential for violence and criminal activity,” the bulletin said, “particularly leading up to and directly following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Mississippi case … expected by June 2022.”
Another concern, the bulletin notes, is that abortion-related protests or counterprotests could attract other types of violent extremists “with motives unrelated to abortion, including groups or individuals interested in attacking large crowds.”
The bulletin includes statistics published by the National Abortion Federation on violence and disruptions against abortion providers in 2020, which noted an 125% increase in reports of assault and battery outside clinics from 2019 to 2020.
It highlights violent and nonviolent incidents across the country over the past year, including a Dec. 31, 2021, arson attack on a Planned Parenthood office in Knoxville, Tenn., and a reported bomb threat on Jan. 30, 2021, at an abortion clinic in Charlotte, N.C.
The Colorado Information Analysis Center declined Yahoo News’ request for comment.
Colorado experienced one of the most deadly abortion-related violent attacks in U.S. history in November 2015, when three people were killed and nine others injured in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs.
A U.S. government counterterrorism official involved in tracking potential threats in connection with the Supreme Court decision told Yahoo News that authorities are concerned the decision could inspire similar attacks against abortion providers.