Virginia Attorney General Miyares has vowed to stand up for those who want to practice their religious beliefs in peace by warning protesters who disrupt Catholic Mass this Sunday in the name of abortion rights could face legal action.
Following the leaked Supreme Court document that seems to suggest that they are planning to overturn Roe v. Wade, protests and counter-protests have begun to sweep across the nation. Miyares office has already experienced these protests firsthand when an unknown perpetrator fired a single gunshot into a window at Miyares’ office in Richmond.
Many of the pro-choice movement has even begun protesting outside the Supreme Court justice’s house, so much so that Governor Youngkin himself has had to step in and help ensure their safety. (RELATED: Youngkin Coordinating with Law Enforcement to Ensure Safety of Supreme Court Justices)
Virginia State Police will assist federal and local law enforcement as needed to ensure the safety of our citizens, including Supreme Court Justices, who call Virginia home.
— Governor Glenn Youngkin (@GovernorVA) May 10, 2022
Churches have been a particular focal point of protests, given that the Catholic Church has been adamant in its anti-abortion position for centuries, condemning abortion and opting to excommunicate automatically women who receive one outside of a life-threatening circumstance. Taking a similar approach to Youngkin, Miyares released a statement Saturday responding to the newfound threats of protest outside of Catholic parishes in Virginia and nationwide.
I deeply respect the First Amendment rights of speech and assembly. But no one has the right to interfere with the fundamental and natural right of all Virginians to practice their religion in peace. pic.twitter.com/LgNrhpPhdD
— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) May 7, 2022
According the the Washington Examiner, Miyares also promised to “bring civil suits” against protesters who “intimidate, interfere with, or obstruct any person who is seeking to exercise his or her First Amendment right of religious freedom.” The state’s top law enforcement agent cited Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which is featured in Virginia’s constitution, as his precedent for “protecting this sacred right for all Virginians.”
Miyares’s office will be monitoring protests at churches for criminal violations, according to the statement.