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DHS warns of potential violent extremist activity in response to abortion ruling

<i>PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>The Department of Homeland Security intelligence branch is warning law enforcement
AFP/Getty Images
The Department of Homeland Security intelligence branch is warning law enforcement

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

The Department of Homeland Security intelligence branch is warning law enforcement, first responders and private sector partners nationwide Friday of potential domestic violence extremist activity in response to the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, according to a memo obtained by CNN.

The memo from the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis says federal and state government officials, including judges, “probably are most at risk for violence in response to the decision.”

It also includes warnings about “First Amendment protected events,” reproductive and “family advocacy health care facilities,” and faith-based organizations being targets for violence or criminal incidents.

“Americans’ freedom of speech and right to peacefully protest are fundamental Constitutional rights. Those rights do not extend to violence and other illegal activity. DHS will continue working with our partners across every level of government to share timely information and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe,” a Homeland Security spokesperson told CNN in a statement.

DHS previously released a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin warning of potential violence surrounding the Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights.

The memo notes that potential violence is expected “for weeks” following Friday’s decision given that domestic violent extremists “may be mobilized to respond to changes in state laws and ballot measures” related to abortion. The assessment, DHS said in the memo, is based on an increase in violent incidents after a draft was leaked last month.

Some of those earlier incidents are cited throughout the memo, including arson attacks targeting pregnancy resource centers and incidents of vandalism threatening violence targeting “religious facilities perceived as being opposed to abortion.”

The DHS intelligence arm relied on a variety of sources, including news media accounts, open source reporting and Justice Department press releases, for its assessment.

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