The Department of Homeland Security is preparing for an "increase" in political violence if and when the Supreme Court returns a ruling in a case that is widely expected to curtail decades of abortion access precedent, according to an unclassified memo.

The May 13 memo by Homeland Security's intelligence wing, obtained by Axios, said threats that came after the May 2 leak of a Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization "are likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the Court’s official ruling."

Since the leak, law enforcement agencies have investigated threats levied on social media to storm or burn down the Supreme Court building, in addition to threats to murder justices and their clerks. Some of the threat warnings have already transpired, such as the vandalism of Wisconsin Family Action, a lobbying and advocacy organization that sustained damages at its Madison headquarters earlier this month.


The agency declined to answer questions on the validity of the memo but told the Washington Examiner that DHS "is committed to protecting Americans’ freedom of speech and other civil rights and civil liberties, including the right to peacefully protest."

"DHS is also committed to working with our partners across every level of government and the private sector to share timely information and intelligence, prevent all forms of violence, and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe," the statement added.

The memo details a history of abortion-related violence, highlighting that actions in the past have sometimes been driven by anti-abortion extremists. The memo warns that in light of the leaked draft opinion, recent threats have stemmed from abortion rights advocates as well.


Earlier this month, tall, unscalable fences were erected outside the high court amid public protests near the Supreme Court building. Protests outside the homes of justices including Chief Justice John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, and Amy Coney Barrett have also ensued.

Dobbs centers on a challenge by abortion providers against Mississippi's restrictive abortion law that bans procedures after 15 weeks of gestation. The leaked draft, if published as it was written by Alito, would overturn the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade and would allow states to impose restrictive limits on when a fetus becomes viable.