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Members of the U.S. Secret Service Counter Assault Team walk through the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in response to mobs loyal to President Donald Trump storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP) Members of the U.S. Secret Service Counter Assault Team walk through the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in response to mobs loyal to President Donald Trump storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP)

Members of the U.S. Secret Service Counter Assault Team walk through the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in response to mobs loyal to President Donald Trump storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher March 31, 2021

No, Biden didn’t put anti-abortion groups on domestic extremist list

If Your Time is short

  • Biden ordered a federal assessment of the threat posed by domestic violent extremism. 

  • The assessment lists several categories of domestic, violent extremist groups, including ones with “ideological agendas in support of pro-life or pro-choice beliefs.”

  • The assessment does not list anti-abortion groups generally as being domestic violence extremist groups.

On his third day in office, some two weeks after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, President Joe Biden ordered a federal assessment of the threat posed by domestic violent extremism.

On March 17, the federal government released an unclassified summary of the assessment, prompting this headline widely shared on Facebook:

"Joe Biden puts pro-life groups on domestic extremist list, calls pro-life people ‘violent.’"

The headline was shared in posts by the Illinois Family Institute, the Facebook group Pro-life Politics, and Ohio Value Voters, Inc. It was surfaced to PolitiFact by VineSight, a firm that tracks online misinformation.

The headline distorts what the assessment really found.

The intelligence summary says that among the various types of domestic violent extremists are those with "ideological agendas in support of pro-life or pro-choice beliefs."

In other words, the report doesn’t say that anti-abortion groups — or abortion-rights groups, for that matter — are domestic extremists. 

Rather, it says that some groups that are identified as domestic extremists have ideological agendas for or against abortion.

Domestic violent extremists

The headline shared on Facebook is from an article on LifeNews.com. That article describes another article from the Christian Post about the summary report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

The four-page report, titled "Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021," begins by stating "that domestic violent extremists (DVEs) who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021." 

A domestic violent extremist is defined "as an individual based and operating primarily in the United States without direction or inspiration from a foreign terrorist group or other foreign power and who seeks to further political or social goals wholly or in part through unlawful acts of force or violence."

The report says that lone offenders or small cells of domestic violent extremists "adhering to a diverse set of violent extremist ideologies" are more likely to carry out violent attacks than organizations that "allegedly advocate a DVE ideology."

It also says that "racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and militia violent extremists" present the most lethal threats.

The report concludes with a brief mention of abortion-related groups in its listing of five categories of domestic violent extremists:

  • Racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists

  • Anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists

  • Animal rights/environmental violent extremists

  • Abortion-related violent extremists — that is, domestic violent extremists "with ideological agendas in support of pro-life or pro-choice beliefs" 

  • All other domestic terrorism threats

Our ruling

A headline widely shared on Facebook claims that Biden "puts pro-life groups on domestic extremist list, calls pro-life people ‘violent.’"

An assessment ordered by Biden on the threat posed by domestic violent extremism says that one category of so-called domestic violent extremists are those that have "ideological agendas in support of pro-life or pro-choice beliefs." 

It does not label anti-abortion groups generally as domestic violent extremists, or as violent.

We rate the post Mostly False. 

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More by Tom Kertscher

No, Biden didn’t put anti-abortion groups on domestic extremist list

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