The White House on Sunday defended people’s “fundamental right to protest” but warned against efforts to “intimidate” others during pro-abortion protests planned at Catholic churches across the country.
A group known as “Ruth Sent Us,” which has a TikTok account with more than 20,000 followers, posted a video of a group of women wearing costumes inspired by Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaids Tale” walking into what appeared to be the front of a Catholic Church during Mass.
Abortion-rights activists gather outside of a Catholic church in downtown Manhattan to voice their support for a woman’s right to choose on May 07, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
“For 2,000 years the Catholic Church has been an institution for the enslavement of women,” one of the protesters can be heard saying in the video.
Other activist groups, including “Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights,” “Pro Choice with Heart,” and “Strike for Choice,” are calling for protests between May 8 and May 15.
Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights specifically called for “actions outside of Churches” on Mother’s Day.
“This action is called for by a collective of [S]panish speaking women’s rights groups + activists across the country, including from Bride’s March, Dominican Women’s Development Center, Ni Una Menus, and Las 17. Several cities will be hosting protests outside of prominent churches in their towns, these can look like a group of people holding signs wearing Handmaids Tale outfits, passing out flyers outside to churchgoers or doing a die-in,” the group’s website states.
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 07: Anti-abortion activists and church members are confronted by a pro-choice activist outside of a Catholic church in downtown Manhattan to voice their support for a woman’s right to choose on May 07, 2022 in New York City. The protests at the Basilica of St. Patricks Old Cathedral, which have been occurring weekly and where a small number of anti-abortion activists worship, have been given added urgency by the recent leaked Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Pro-abortion protesters also marched to the homes of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh Saturday night for a “Candlelight vigil for Roe v. Wade.” A left-wing group called ShutDown DC is planning on holding another protest outside of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s house on May 9.
The anti-abortion group Wisconsin Family Action said vandals threw at least one Molotov cocktail into their Madison headquarters over the weekend.
The “Ruth Sent Us” activist group on Friday threatened that they would be “burning the Eucharist,” to show their “disgust for the abuse Catholic Churches have condoned for centuries.”
A White House official told Fox News Digital in a statement Sunday that President Biden opposes any “attempts to intimidate” by protesters.
“As Jen reiterated last week, the President has made clear throughout his time in public life that Americans have the fundamental right to protest under the Constitution, whatever their point of view,” the official said. “But protests must be peaceful and free of violence, vandalism, or attempts to intimidate, all of which he condemns in any case.”
Speaking at a press gaggle Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden does not have an opinion on the use of protests to influence Supreme Court opinions.
“The President believes in peaceful protest,” Psaki said. “He believes that’s part of our democracy and part of the history of the United States and this country. But he also respects and understands the independence of the third branch of government, and — I mean, obviously, the Justice Department — but also the role of the Supreme Court and what they play.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks at a daily press conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
Two Republican lawmakers are pressing the Justice Department to take more seriously threats made against churches.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, sent a letter Saturday to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to marshal resources necessary to protect churches under threat of vandalism and disruptive protest.
“We write to you today extremely concerned by multiple reports surfacing that left-wing activists intend to protest, and possibly disrupt, church services this weekend in direct response to the leaked opinion authored by Justice Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade,” Lee and Roy wrote.
The lawmakers noted that a prominent example of anti-Christian vandalism has already been documented after Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Colorado was vandalized Wednesday with anti-religious and abortion-rights graffiti.
“Regardless of one’s position on abortion, the free exercise of religion is a core tenet of our Constitution,” Lee and Roy wrote. “We condemn behaviors that infringe upon the freedom to exercise one’s religious beliefs and respectfully ask that you swiftly alert and coordinate resources with state and local law enforcement to ensure that any organized effort across the country is properly addressed and the rights of Americans are protected.”
Fox News’ Timothy H.J. Nerozzi, Adam Sabes, Audrey Conklin, and Tyler O’Neil contributed to this article.
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