After the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade case with its June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization, protests erupted across the country in favor of abortion access.
On July 3, 2022, one group allegedly circled around Ebenezer Baptist Church Heritage Sanctuary, a legendary congregation that has been a spiritual home for Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and Senator Raphael Warnock. The church was the site of Lewis and King’s funerals, and Warnock and King have been pastors there.
FBI Atlanta releases video of a group accused of vandalizing the outside of Ebenezer Baptist Church Heritage Sanctuary in Atlanta on July 3. Authorities said it happened days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade. pic.twitter.com/iKO5EnNeAO
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) December 29, 2022
According to the FBI, a group of 10 people — all dressed in black — were caught on tape around the church in the late night hours of July 3. The group is said to have stopped alongside the building where authorities later found spray paint reading: “if abortions aren’t safe neither are you” on the side of the building.
“Less than a minute later, cameras recorded the people walk away from the church and cross Auburn Avenue and towards the Memorial Rose Garden. A few minutes later, a group of 10 people walked from the area of the Garden, no longer wearing black clothing.,” the FBI said in a press release. “The group then split up, and four of the individuals went in one direction and six of the individuals went in another direction. Cameras in the area recorded their activity.
The FBI’s Atlanta Division and the Atlanta Police Department have asked anyone with information regarding the vandalism or any of the suspects to contact 1-800-CALL-FBI or to send investigatory tips to Tips.FBI.gov.
Since the overturning of Roe, Georgia has implemented its Heartbeat Abortion Law, which outlaws the procedure after six weeks of gestation — before most women are even aware that they are pregnant.
Georgia’s six-week abortion ban was declared unenforceable by a Fulton County Superior Court on Nov. 15, 2022. The court reasoned that the law was unconstitutional at the time it was passed (prior to the Dobbs decision). However, the state’s Supreme Court reinstated the law on Nov. 23.
“The State of Georgia’s Emergency Petition for Supersedeas seeking a stay of the order of the Superior Court of Fulton County in the above-styled action is hereby granted,” the court wrote in a brief one-page ruling at the time.
Representatives for Sen. Warnock (D-Ga.) did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Law&Crime.
[images and video via FBI]
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