FBI agents visit home of pro-life activist's mother in act meant to 'intimidate,' she says
'This weaponization of our government institutions protects the abortion industrial complex'
A progressive pro-life activist has been left to speculate why two FBI agents showed up at the doorstep of her mother's home, wondering if it was an intimidation tactic meant to provoke fear in her and other members of her group.
Elise Ketch serves as the digital content creator for Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, a pro-life group that made headlines last year for recovering the bodies of five full-term babies who were killed at an abortion clinic in Washington, D.C.
The FBI agents' visit to Ketch’s childhood home occurred as several of her colleagues, including Lauren Handy and Herb Geraghty, face charges for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act by participating in a blockade of an abortion clinic in the nation's capital.
Ketch was uncertain as to why the two FBI agents visited her mom's home instead of her current residence if they needed to speak with her, or why they refused to provide her mother with any information despite persistently ringing the doorbell while she was on a conference call upstairs during work hours.
The pro-life activist surmised in a Thursday statement to The Christian Post that the agents hoped to gain information from her to build a case against Handy. She added that, to her knowledge, the FBI has not attempted to contact her or her family since the visit last month.
The activist also believes that the purpose behind the agents’ visit was to “intimidate” her and her team.
“While the visit did make me concerned for the safety of my family, I refuse to back down,” Ketch told CP. “This weaponization of our government institutions protects the abortion industrial complex, and it reinforces that we must disrupt these unjust power structures.”
The FBI did not respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.
As a member of PAAU, Ketch participates in various forms of pro-life activism, including “Pink Rose Rescues.” This type of activism involves entering an abortion facility to pass out roses that have pregnancy help information attached. In March, Ketch was one of many pro-life activists arrested for blocking traffic outside the Rayburn House Office Building to raise awareness about the five babies PAAU discovered last year.
“The most prevalent domestic threat to our country is the murder of thousands of preborn people by abortion each day,” she continued. “It is not terrorism to nonviolently intervene and rescue these powerless children before their slaughter. I'm willing to risk my own freedom and sacrifice my rights in order to secure theirs."
In Ring doorbell camera footage shared by The Daily Signal, FBI agents — who have been identified as Ashley Roberts and Kathleen Brown — visited the pro-life activist’s former home in Woodbridge, Virginia, on April 18 at 2:45 p.m. local time. Roberts is heard in the video telling Ketch’s mother, Tracy, that the agents needed to speak with the activist.
“We are both with the FBI,” Roberts told Ketch’s mother. “We just need to speak with her regarding some information that was sent to us.” The agent assured Ketch’s mother that her daughter is not in any trouble, but she could not disclose further details about the reason for the visit.
"We would tell you all the information because, like I said, she’s not in any trouble, but just out of respect for her, we’d like to speak with her first and then, if she feels like talking to you, which I’m sure she will because it’s nothing," Roberts said.
PAAU Founder and Executive Director Terrisa Bukovinac told CP Thursday that the feds are looking for a way to shut the organization down and that involves visiting the homes of the activists’ families.
"The FBI is targeting PAAU members because our activism challenges the property lines of, and disrupts commerce for the abortion industrial complex,” Bukovinac said. “We are especially a problem for them because we are nonviolent and therefore our efforts and ideas are rapidly catching on.”
The pro-life group’s Director of Public Relations, Caroline Taylor Smith, added that PAAU has been targeted for challenging the demands of the Biden administration and the abortion industry.
“PAAU is progressive, anti-capitalist, and believe that the unborn have a right to be rescued,” Smith told CP. “This is in direct opposition to the agenda of the FBI and the Biden administration. Abortion is murder, and we are acting like it. The FBI doesn’t like that.”
The public relations director highlighted PAAU’s recovery of the five babies along with 110 other remains obtained from abortionist Cesare Santangelo’s facility, suggesting this is another reason for the FBI’s scrutiny of the group. PAAU has repeatedly stated during press conferences that they believe several of the babies obtained from the clinic were aborted in violation of federal law.
Smith repeated the organization’s calls for justice for the five babies and the repeal of the FACE Act, which PAAU argues is “disproportionately” used to target pro-life activists.
PAAU posted a graphic Thursday on social media, outlining the reasons why it wants to see the FACE Act repealed. PAAU suggests that the act is no longer necessary due to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide.
In addition to protecting abortion facilities, the FACE Act is supposed to protect pro-life pregnancy centers, which provide pregnant women with free counseling services and practical support.
Following the leak of the decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, radical abortion activists vandalized several pregnancy resource centers, and one clinic was firebombed. The violence and vandalism continued after the Supreme Court reversed Roe last June.
Janet Durig, director of the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, spoke during a Tuesday press conference on the House Triangle of the U.S. Capitol following the conclusion of a hearing, “Revisiting the Implications of the FACE Act.” The pro-life pregnancy center was defaced with graffiti on June 1 of last year.
“I called the police and they came and they took it very seriously. I have yet to hear from the FBI and it’s been almost a year,” Durig said.
Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., who also spoke during the press conference, believes that the FACE Act has lost its original purpose, pointing out what he sees as a double standard of its enforcement. Johnson highlighted Mark Houck, a Catholic father who was arrested in his home by the FBI for a purported violation of the FACE Act stemming from his encounter with the Planned Parenthood escort.
The pro-life advocate was ultimately acquitted on the federal charges, and Houck has vowed to take legal action against the FBI and law enforcement officers that conducted the raid on his home.
Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman