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Baltimore-area Catholic churches, law enforcement on alert after Roe v. Wade fallout

Baltimore Basilica
Posted at 12:58 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 12:58:50-04

Catholic churches around the Baltimore area are on heightened alert, and Baltimore police will do focused patrols, in the wake of national protests and even vandalism over abortion rights.

The fallout continues from a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion showing it would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. Multiple Catholic churches in Texas, and two in Colorado, were vandalized in what police are calling a "bias-motivated crime." There were reports of demonstrators targeting New York City churches, and Virginia's Attorney General issued a statement this weekend that "no one has the right to interfere" with freedom of religion, after threats of protesters disrupting Catholic masses.

Baltimore police said today that they're "aware of the possibility of potential protests following the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion rights. The department will implement focused patrols at potential sites for protests and will continue to support individuals' rights to peacefully protest in Baltimore.”

Christian Kendzierski, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, said in a statement:

There is a heightened awareness of safety and security concerns at all of our parishes. We have been checking in with them to make sure they are aware/alerted of trends when it come to the safety of our parishioners, staff and clergy. We talk about safety measures they can implement and what protocols they have in place to keep safety at the forefront. All parishes are encouraged to strengthen their relationship and communications with local law enforcement and alert them to the concerns of possible protests or disturbances…especially if they learn of anything on the local level. We ask local law enforcement to be in a position of readiness to assist our parishes if needed. We will continue to monitor and if special security is needed – we will increase.

The Archdiocese represents parishes in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Frederick counties and Baltimore City, as well as Allegany, Washington and Garrett counties.

Asked about security concerns at parishes in Baltimore County, county police only said they are "continuing to maintain an increased level of security to ensure the safety of all Baltimore County residents."

Harford County Sheriff's Office said: "We are monitoring local and national news and incidents and will increase patrol as necessary."

Anne Arundel County police only said: "We are always prepared for a variety of situations daily, we won't disclose any tactical or operational details."