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Voters less likely to support politicians who don't condemn abortion activists’ violence: poll

Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center
The Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, Virginia, was vandalized hours after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide on June 25, 2022. |

Voters are less likely to support political candidates who refuse to condemn violence against pro-life pregnancy centers, according to a new poll.

The conservative advocacy organization Judicial Crisis Network released the results of a survey examining Americans' attitudes toward the protests and violence that have erupted following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization reversing the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The poll, published Wednesday, collected responses from 1,600 registered voters between July 14-17 and had a margin of error of +/-2.45 percentage points.

The poll was conducted three weeks after the Dobbs decision, following acts of vandalism at several pro-life pregnancy centers and churches. While pro-life advocacy groups and churches had become the target of vandalism after Politico published a leaked draft of the Dobbs opinion on May 2, the acts of violence against such organizations continued following the publication of the Dobbs decision on June 24.

Eighty-six percent of respondents expressed their disdain for "acts of vandalism and violence against pregnancy resource centers and churches" by indicating support for ensuring that "protestors who engage in acts of vandalism and violence against pregnancy resource centers and churches should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." This feeling was shared by 91% of Republicans, 85% of Independents and 82% of Democrats.

Similarly, 83% of likely voters wanted to see politicians "publicly denounce this behavior and call for those engaging in it to be brought to justice." Eighty-eight percent of Republicans, 81% of Independents and 80% of Democrats shared this sentiment. A nearly identical share of likely voters (85%), Republicans (89%), Independents (82%) and Democrats (85%) maintained that "engaging in rage, intimidation, and acts of vandalism or violence undermines our democracy."

The survey inquired whether respondents would find themselves "more or less likely to vote for an elected official who refuses to speak out against acts of rage, vandalism, and violence against a pregnancy resource center."

Fifty-nine percent of the sample characterized themselves as "less likely" to support a candidate who refuses to condemn such violence, with supermajorities of Republicans (69%) and Independents (61%) reporting that they feel that way. A plurality of Democrats (49%) also cited refusal to condemn pro-abortion violence as a factor that would make them less likely to support a candidate.

In addition to the vandalism directed at pro-life pregnancy centers and churches, pro-abortion demonstrators have descended upon the homes of the six Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents on a recurring basis over the past couple of months.

While Chief Justice John Roberts did not join with the five other Republican-appointed justices to form the majority opinion in Dobbs, he has found himself subject to protests outside of his home. 

One liberal protest group, Shut Down DC, offered $50 to anyone in the food service industry willing to send them a direct message on Twitter if they saw a Supreme Court justice patronizing their establishment and would increase the payment to $200 if they remained there 30 minutes after the message. Two days earlier, Justice Brett Kavanaugh had to exit out the rear of Morton's Steakhouse in Washington, D.C., when protesters showed up.

Strong majorities of likely voters (72%), Republicans (83%), Independents (74%) and Democrats (61%) described themselves as less likely to vote for "an elected official who bullies, threatens, or intimidates Supreme Court justices."

The idea of offering "'bounties' for tips about where Supreme Court justices are dining out so they can show up and protest at the restaurant" did not sit well with Americans, 71% of whom classified such activity as "extreme and goes [too] far." Eighty-five percent of Republicans, 69% of Independents and 61% of Democrats opposed "bounties" for Supreme Court justices.

When asked if "protesting outside the private homes of Supreme Court justices, showing up at restaurants where the justices are eating dinner, and seeking other ways to disrupt the justices' private lives" as well as "offering money to those who share locations of Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade" "undermines our democracy," 61% of respondents answered in the affirmative.

Majorities of Republicans (71%), Independents (60%) and Democrats (52%) saw the aforementioned behavior as a threat to democracy.

Sixty percent of those surveyed agreed that "elected officials should speak out against people who protest Supreme Court justices at their private homes or restaurants where they are eating." While majorities of Republicans (75%) and Independents (59%) thought politicians should condemn such behavior, a plurality of Democrats (48%) said the same.

The survey also asked whether President Joe Biden, an outspoken opponent of the Dobbs decision, had a responsibility to "condemn protests at the homes of Supreme Court justices." Once again, 60% answered in the affirmative. Broken down by party, 75% of Republicans, 57% of Independents and 51% of Democrats wanted Biden to denounce protests at the justices' homes.

Additionally, an overwhelming majority of Americans (84%) believed that "when protestors engage in acts of intimidation, vandalism, or violence, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." This feeling cut across party lines, achieving strong support among Republicans (89%), Independents (81%) and Democrats (82%).

"Americans overwhelmingly agree: Threats, protests at the homes of Supreme Court justices, vandalism, violence, and other intimidation tactics undermine our democracy," said Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino in a statement. "From their unwillingness to enforce the law to their dangerous rhetoric, Democrats are putting the justices' lives at risk."

In June, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives blocked a resolution that would have condemned the violence against pro-life pregnancy centers and churches. In 2020, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., vowed that the two Supreme Court justices appointed to the bench by then-President Trump at the time, Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, would "pay the price" and "won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions," referring to the possibility of overturning or chipping away at Roe.

A man expressing a desire to kill Kavanaugh was arrested outside his home in Maryland last month. This prompted the House to pass a bill bolstering security for the justices, which the Senate had passed unanimously before the assassination attempt. 

An FBI affidavit filed on Tuesday says that Nicholas John Roske also spoke of killing other Supreme Court justices named in the Politico leak.

"I could get at least one, which would change the votes for decades to come, and I am shooting for 3," he said, according to the affidavit.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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