Justice Dept. petitioned to call abortion clinic attacks 'terrorism'

Just two days before Friday's deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, an abortion rights group petitioned the Obama administration to start classifying such attacks as "domestic terrorism."

NARAL Pro-Choice America delivered a petition signed by 140 abortion providers and groups supporting abortion rights to the Department of Justice on Wednesday, Vox first reported. The petition asks Justice to categorize attacks on abortion clinics as domestic terrorism, which the agency defines as events designed to intimidate civilians or influence government policies by coercion.

NARAL said it was prompted to circulate the petition by a recent wave of violence against abortion providers around the country. In Friday's attack, a man named Robert Lewis Dear Jr. was charged with killing a police officer and two civilians at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs. Officials have said they have indications the shooter had political motivations.

It's not clear whether classifying abortion clinic attacks as terrorism would change the way the Justice Department handles them, but NARAL President Sasha Bruce told Vox it could allow the agency to devote different resources to the investigations.

Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com