Former Vice President Mike Pence said in a media interview that President Joe Biden should “speak out forcefully” against the planned demonstrations at Catholic churches amid the fallout from the recent leaking of an initial draft majority opinion that could overturn the U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.
“President Biden should speak out forcefully, make it clear that those who support his view on abortion, on the Supreme Court, let their voice be heard, but heard peacefully and respect the law,” Pence told The Daily Wire in an interview Saturday.
The pro-abortion group Ruth Sent Us, which describes itself as a group working to “force accountability using a diversity of tactics” from the “6-3 extremist Supreme Court,” is urging abortion supporters to “stand at or in a local Catholic Church Sun May 8” as a show of support for Supreme Court precedent that has legalized abortion nationwide.
A video accompanying a May 3 tweet calling on abortion advocates to stage protests inside churches shows pro-abortion protesters dressed in "Handmaid’s Tale" costumes yelling “abortion on demand and without apology” at churchgoers as they storm through the pews of a Catholic church.
Pence added, “The president of the United States is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America. And he ought to make it very, very clear that anyone who would engage in violence or threaten violence or disrupt religious services would be held to the strictest account.”
The push for protests at Catholic Masses comes after Politico published a leaked draft opinion regarding the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. According to the leaked initial draft, five of the nine Supreme Court justices voted to uphold a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15-week gestation.
Pence also responded to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s refusal to criticize the pro-abortion group’s call for protests.
At a White House press briefing last week, Psaki was asked, “A Catholic church was just vandalized with pro-abortion slogans in Colorado. It just happened recently. Is the White House aware of that, first of all?”
Psaki responded, “I’ve not seen that report. Obviously, we don’t condone vandalism. We condone peaceful protest, and that’s something certainly we’re encouraging with everybody who feels passionate.”
When asked, “What would you say to those vandals going after — targeting Catholic churches, especially when it involves Roe? That’s what they’re basically focusing on,” Psaki said, “Again, we don’t condone vandalism. We condone peaceful protest.”
Psaki added, “I think it’s important to note that 60 percent or 70 percent, depending on the poll you look at, of the American people do not want Roe to be overturned.”
Pence said, “I don’t accept that. Americans can be passionate without breaking the law. And there’s no excuse for violence against persons or property in the name of any political causes.”
Psaki was also asked, “These activists posted a map with the home addresses of the Supreme Court justices [who live in Virginia and Maryland]. Is that the kind of thing [President Biden] wants to help your side make their point?”
Psaki responded, “Look, I think the president’s view is that there’s a lot of passion, a lot of fear, a lot of sadness from many, many people across this country about what they saw in that leaked document. We obviously want people’s privacy to be respected. We want people to protest peacefully if they want to — to protest. That is certainly what the president’s view would be.”
The initial draft opinion for Dobbs, which is not final and could change, did not receive the support of “six extremist Catholics.” While opinion author Justice Samuel Alito is Catholic, as are Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas, who also backed the draft opinion, the fifth justice who supported the draft opinion, Neil Gorsuch, is Episcopalian.
Although Chief Justice John Roberts is Catholic and part of what Ruth Sent Us describes as the “6-3 extremist Supreme Court,” he did not sign onto the draft opinion.
Another video posted Tuesday by Ruth Sent Us featured protesters dressed in "Handmaid’s Tale" outfits declaring: “For 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has been an institution for the enslavement of women.”
In the tweet, the group declared: “This is what Mother’s Day should look like” in “Catholic and Evangelical Churches nationwide.”
The Catholic Church is among the most outspoken critics of abortion, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines abortion as “gravely contrary to the moral law.”
In a statement, Joshua Mercer, communications director of the group CatholicVote, alleged a pattern of anti-Catholicism among the Ruth Sent Us activists.
“If they wanted, they could have just focused on the issue of abortion,” he said, recalling their characterization of several Supreme Court justices as “extremist Catholics.”
“Instead they chose to highlight the Catholic faith of some of the pro-life justices.”
Ruth Sent Us derives its name from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who consistently voted to strike down abortion restrictions as unconstitutional throughout her 27 years on the bench.
Pence called the leak of the draft opinion a “despicable act.”
“But I hope and pray that the draft opinion becomes adopted as the majority opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States and we send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs,” he said.