In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling on Friday, which struck down a 1973 precedent that established access to abortion as a constitutional right, some activists responded with violence, calls to extreme action, protest, and vulgar behavior all over the United States.
Despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s best attempts to paint the ruling as the product of an “extreme” Republican party and Supreme Court, Democrat-supporting activists and pundits showed just how extreme the political left can be.
Violence and Vandalism
On Friday night, Antifa took to the streets of Washington, D.C. to commit violent acts.
Video footage shows the so-called “anti-fascist” activists wearing all-black outfits – indicating that they are members of the particularly violent “Black Bloc” group – with backpacks full of supplies and masks covering their faces. Activists were seen violently clashing with the police.
Police officers attempted to hold back the activists, many of whom were holding umbrellas, possibly to shield their faces from cameras or protect themselves from pepper spray and projectiles thrown by fellow protestors.
LIVE in DC: Antifa clash with police attempting to block their path
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) June 25, 2022
In one clip, Antifa members can be heard calling to burn down police precincts.
“Every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground,” the activists can be heard chanting.
LIVE in DC: Antifa chants “every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground”
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) June 25, 2022
Similar calls to violence were shared online, with far-left commentators so confident in their view that the Supreme Court ruling is a threat to women that they felt compelled to call for violence against innocent people.
“Fascists literally do not care how hard you vote,” YouTuber Carlos Maza wrote.
Fascists literally do not care how hard you vote. They are not trying to win elections. Violence is the only language they understand, and it’s time we start speaking it.
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 24, 2022
“They are not trying to win elections. Violence is the only language they understand, and it’s time we start speaking it,” he continued.
Given that Supreme Court Justices are tasked with defending the United States Constitution – a document that is by nature incompatible with fascism – it’s unclear who exactly Maza was talking about, other than simply everybody with whom he disagrees.
Calls for extreme action were justified by some online activists by describing the Supreme Court ruling as an act of violence.
“There’s nothing so ‘uncivil’ or ‘unpeaceful’ that you could say, yell, or occupy that comes close to the real threat and heinous violence the Supreme Court just perpetrated against you,” one Twitter user wrote.
There’s nothing so “uncivil” or “unpeaceful” that you could say, yell, or occupy that comes close to the real threat and heinous violence the Supreme Court just perpetrated against you. Don’t let the powers that be tell you otherwise.
— Juan C Chavez (@inafutureage) June 24, 2022
In New York City, pro-abortion activists vandalized the NewsCorp building where both the New York Post and Fox News are headquartered.
New York City: Pro-abortion protesters surrounded the NewsCorp building where Fox News & NY Post are headquartered & vandalized it. pic.twitter.com/Gz8rrlsFCz
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) June 25, 2022
Calls to Overthrow the American Judicial System
American sports commentator and ultra-progressive political activist Keith Olbermann responded to the news by calling for the Supreme Court to be dissolved.
“It has become necessary to dissolve the Supreme Court of the United States. The first step is for a state the ‘court’ has now forced guns upon, to ignore this ruling,” Olbermann wrote.
“Great. You’re a court? Why and how do think you can enforce your rulings? #IgnoreTheCourt”
Olbermann doubled down on his extreme call to overthrow America’s judicial system in a follow-up tweet.
It has become necessary to dissolve the Supreme Court of the United States.
The first step is for a state the "court" has now forced guns upon, to ignore this ruling.
Great. You're a court? Why and how do think you can enforce your rulings?#IgnoreTheCourt
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) June 23, 2022
“Again: it has become necessary to dissolve the Supreme Court of the United States… This is no longer a court. It is a Minority imposing its religious beliefs on the Majority: our House of Lords; Superlegislature; Theocracy,” he wrote.
Partisan extremism watchdog Partisan Watch reported on Olbermann’s extreme calls to action, noting that his claim of a “minority imposing its religious beliefs on the majority” is factually inaccurate.
“It was actually a majority of Justices (5 out of 9) who voted and agreed to overturn Roe V. Wade. It was the Roe V. Wade supporters who actually represented the minority,” Partisan Watch reports.
“On top of this fact, there is no evidence that religious ‘theocracy’ or ‘religious beliefs’ played any role at all in the Supreme Court’s decision.”
Extremist @KeithOlbermann called for the illegal overthrow of America’s justice system.
This sentiment is now common within the Democrat party and the establishment media.
— Partisan Watch (@partisan_watch) June 24, 2022
Olbermann also wrongly described Justices Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas as “domestic terrorists” – a blatantly inaccurate claim that could open the justices up to acts of violence from activists who consider their behavior justified.
Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas are domestic terrorists and should be approached and prosecuted as such.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) June 24, 2022
Over in Dallas, Texas, protesters were also caught on camera publicly calling for the United States Constitution to be scrapped.
“F*ck the constitution!” protesters can be heard shouting as a speaker shouts, “Hell no! It ain’t never applied to me!”
“F*ck the constitution” protestors yell outside the Federal building in Dallas, TX
So we are here now. Take note pic.twitter.com/MYXVKSTWIK
— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) June 25, 2022
Antifa activists also physically attacked and pepper sprayed a pro-life woman in Seattle on Friday afternoon.
Antifa extremists and other pro-abortion activists were seen burning flags all over the country on Friday night.
In Washington, D.C., footage shared by reporter Hannah Nighting showed protesters burning what looks like a Gadsden flag – a historic American flag that features a rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread On Me.” The flag is commonly used by modern libertarians.
An American flag was seen burning on 46th street, Manhattan, New York City.
Antifa was also seen burning American flags in the street in Washington, D.C.
After setting a small fire to an American flag in the middle of the street in DC, the Antifa crowd chanted “Burn it down!” pic.twitter.com/2U8TV6VGLy
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 25, 2022
Holding Up Traffic
One video from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, appears to show pro-abortion activists surrounding a pickup truck that refused to stop. Activists adopted Black Lives Matter tactics last seen during the violent 2020 Antifa and BLM riots, which involve holding up traffic at busy intersections.
When the pickup truck refused to stop, activists were seen banging on the vehicle’s windows and intimidating the driver. The driver decides to continue driving their vehicle at a steady speed in the hope that the activists would eventually back off.
Here is some more video of the incident at the protest. Protestors are sharing the video and pictures with me. pic.twitter.com/1HWHqIasfQ
— Lyz Lenz (@lyzl) June 25, 2022
When protesters refused to stop blocking the vehicle on the road, they fell to the ground and reporters shared the videos online claiming that the driver “hit two women” and “ran down” peaceful protesters.
Many activists took to TikTok to respond to the ruling, which returned the power to set abortion laws to the states, to spread falsehoods about what the decision means for women.
“Women will die!” TikTok user “Mamabenergy” said in a video.
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) June 25, 2022
“White women of privilege will still have access [to abortion] after their senators f*ck them.”
The user added that, as a result of the decision, women who learn that their child is not viable in the third trimester would face uncertainty and expectant mothers with ectopic pregnancies will not receive the treatment they need. However, Friday’s ruling does not in any way impact the medical treatment of expectant mothers who experience complications during pregnancy.
The ruling in and of itself does not change any law. Any amendment to existing abortion laws will be determined by the states.
Other protestors held signs alleging that pro-life activists “don’t care if women die.”
Some images from the pro-abortion rally in Cincinnati tonight pic.twitter.com/zzVPCjqTfj
— Andrew Mark Miller (@AndyMarkMiller) June 25, 2022
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.