Pro-Life Advocates Branded as Terrorists by Biden-Backed Study

Written by Matthew Thompson.

In an alarming development that strikes at the heart of free speech and civil liberties, a University of Maryland research center, heavily funded by the Biden administration, has controversially labeled a pro-life group as a “terrorist” entity. This revelation comes from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START, which ostensibly monitors “ideologically motivated criminal activity” and known “extremists” through its project tracking efforts up to 2021.

A Questionable Label

The inclusion of two Students for Life of America (SFLA) members in the university’s research database, “Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States” (PIRUS), follows their arrest for the non-violent act of writing “black pre-born lives matter” on a sidewalk in 2020. More concerning is the raw dataset’s categorization of the organization under a “Terrorist_Group” label, a classification that has sparked considerable backlash and concern from various quarters.

Expert Critique

Elizabeth Neumann, a national security expert and former Department of Homeland Security agent, has voiced her disapproval of such labeling, deeming it inappropriate and a misrepresentation of what constitutes “radicalization” in any political context. This critique is particularly poignant considering Neumann’s previous resignation from the Trump administration over its handling of domestic terrorism, alongside her critique and endorsement against and for Trump and Biden, respectively.

Moreover, the absence of a pro-abortion equivalent to the “anti-abortion extremism” category in START’s study raises questions about bias and imbalance in tracking violent extremism across the political spectrum.

Legal and Academic Concerns

John Yoo, a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General and current University of California Berkeley Law professor, who played a significant role in shaping counterterrorism policy, also finds fault with START’s broad use of terminology. This raises the specter of viewpoint discrimination—a concern echoed by SFLA spokesperson Kristi Hamrick, who highlights the potential for such government-funded programs to insinuate future harms from peaceful pro-life advocates.

Our Take

The labeling of pro-life activists as terrorists by a Biden-funded research project not only undermines the principles of free speech and peaceful protest but also potentially sets a dangerous precedent for viewpoint discrimination under the guise of national security. While the tracking of violent extremism is a legitimate and necessary endeavor, the equating of non-violent, pro-life advocacy with terrorism is a misguided and harmful approach that threatens to erode trust in public institutions and stifle legitimate political discourse.

As this issue unfolds, it is imperative that we remain vigilant against any attempts to curtail civil liberties under the pretext of security. The pursuit of safety must not come at the cost of fundamental freedoms, nor should it serve as a vehicle for the imposition of ideological conformity. In defending the rights of pro-life advocates, we reaffirm our commitment to the principles of freedom and justice that form the bedrock of our society.

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