Biden AdministrationUkraine InvasionInflationEnergyCybersecurity

A leaked Homeland Security memo warns business leaders their companies could be targeted if they ‘facilitate travel for those seeking abortions’

May 18, 2022, 6:24 PM UTC

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is anticipating a surge of violence if the Supreme Court ultimately overturns Roe v. Wade, according to a leaked memo sent last week, first obtained by Axios. 

The May 13 unclassified memo cites social media threats to Supreme Court justices, other public officials, and health care providers. It says such threats “are likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the court’s official ruling.” The court is expected to make its official decision in May or June.

The memo also warned that violent extremists might target companies that manufacture or sell abortion-related medications and “organizations that fund and facilitate travel for those seeking abortions.”

On May 2, Politico reported that the Supreme Court had voted to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling after obtaining a leaked draft of the decision. When it first passed, it enshrined the constitutional right for women to choose to have an abortion.

Following the leak, several companies updated their benefits policies to expand abortion access, or made public statements that they would help employees in states where the right to abortion might eventually disappear.

On Monday, Starbucks announced that it would pay for employees who needed to travel 100 miles or more to attain an abortion. With its announcement, it joined the ranks of companies including Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple that have pledged to offer similar support. Other companies like Citigroup and Salesforce had already made similar announcements prior to the leak, in response to a wave of state-level restrictive abortion legislation in states including Texas, Idaho, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma. Many of America’s largest companies, however, have remained silent.

There are 26 states “certain or likely” to put laws in place that would ban or severely limit abortion if Roe is overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a global pro-choice research organization. Currently, 13 states have “trigger laws” in place that would make abortions illegal as soon as Roe is overturned.

The Department of Justice’s memo specifically warns of violence carried out by anti-abortion enthusiasts who might feel empowered to act out following the official decision. “Some racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists’ embrace of pro-life narratives may be linked to the perception of wanting to ‘save white children’ and ‘fight white genocide,’” reads the memo, per Axios. The memo also warns that violence might come from abortion-rights activisits as well.

The memo emphasizes that the advocacy of political positions, strong rhetoric, and the “generalized philosophic embrace of violent tactics” do not constitute domestic violent extremism and are all protected by the Constitution.

“DHS is committed to protecting Americans’ freedom of speech and other civil rights and civil liberties, including the right to peacefully protest,” said the Department of Homeland Security in a statement to Fortune

Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.