Are we headed for "a night of rage" over abortion? An anonymous collective called Jane's Revenge is threatening to create chaos when the U.S. Supreme Court releases its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. The decision is expected to come today, Thursday, or next week.
A draft of the decision, leaked in May, suggests the Court will overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the major precedents on which the current abortion rights regime is based. If that happens, there are sure to be protests outside the Supreme Court and around the country.
But will the protests remain peaceful? The Wall Street Journal suggests that they won't, noting that flyers "popping up around Washington" issue a "DC CALL TO ACTION NIGHT OF RAGE."
"THE NIGHT SCOTUS OVERTURNS ROE V. WADE HIT THE STREETS YOU SAID YOU'D RIOT," state the flyers. "TO OUR OPPRESSORS: IF ABORTIONS AREN'T SAFE, YOU'RE NOT EITHER." They're signed "JANE'S REVENGE."
The Journal suggests that Jane's Revenge is going to "commit what sounds like what Democrats would call insurrection if it were aimed at another part of government."
But we have no idea if the flyers are even real (as opposed to being put out by a group trying to make pro-choice activists look bad, or just stir up chaos and fear). And even if they are, it doesn't follow that people are going to actually take up the call.
Jane's Revenge communiques have been posted to a website launched in May. They say "we are not one group but many" and speak of having "various cells" which have been "proliferating messages."
There's something suspicious about the group's statements, which rely on over-the-top villainous language, like:
We have demonstrated in the past month how easy and fun it is to attack. We are versatile, we are mercurial, and we answer to no one but ourselves. …
From here forward, any anti-choice group who closes their doors, and stops operating will no longer be a target. But until you do, it's open season, and we know where your operations are. The infrastructure of the enslavers will not survive. We will never stop, back down, slow down, or retreat. We did not want this; but it is upon us, and so we must deal with it proportionally.
This sounds like what someone would write if they were trying to freak people out about violent pro-choice activists.
But whether legit or not, actions taken on behalf of Jane's Revenge are real. This includes setting a fire at a crisis pregnancy center (which urges pregnant women not to get abortions) in Madison, Wisconsin. That building was also painted with an anarchist symbol and the phrase "if abortions aren't safe then you aren't either."
The group has also taken credit for vandalism and sometimes worse—including arson, window smashing, and firebombings—in at least 14 other locations. In Amherst, New York, it painted "Jane was here" on the wall of a pro-life organization. Other locations were vandalized with the same message seen in Madison. So far, thankfully, no one has been hurt.
The Intercept takes a deeper look at the group, noting that "among abortion rights advocates, Jane's Revenge—whoever they are—has gotten predictably mixed reviews."
If the group is "a false flag," it seems "the perfect tactic: A campaign of violence by pro-choice forces would reinforce the picture of abortion advocates as barbarians and justify draconian punishment of those who perform, facilitate, or have abortions," writes Judith Levine at The Intercept. But it's also possible Jane's Revenge is "a first," a sort of "anarcho-feminist descendant of the Weather Underground, the splinter of Students for a Democratic Society that bombed university and government buildings, banks, and other collaborators in the U.S. aggression against Vietnam during the 1960s and '70s."
"The Weather Underground vowed to harm only property, not people," notes Levine. "But inevitably, lives were lost to its botched heroics."
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