Two female Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents descended upon the doorstep of Tracy Ketch, the mother of progressive pro-life activist Elise Ketch, last month. In a conversation publicized by The Daily Signal, the agents, Ashley Roberts and Kathleen Brown, asked Tracy if they could talk to Elise.
“We just need to speak with [Elise] regarding some information that was sent to us,” Roberts told Tracy. The agents asked for Elise’s address or phone number after learning she no longer lives at her mother’s house. “She’s not in any trouble,” Roberts said, adding that she couldn’t tell Tracy what their visit was about but that she shouldn’t worry because “it’s nothing.”
When Tracy asked to take pictures of their badges, Roberts stated, “Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to have anyone take our pictures.”
“I have two FBI agents at the front door,” Tracy told her daughter over the phone in front of the agents. “FBI agents?” Elise repeated, causing Roberts to break into a smile. “Mom, don’t tell them anything,” Elise instructed her mother. Tracy then gestured for the agents to leave the porch.
According to Kyle Seraphin, the former FBI agent who exposed the agency for targeting traditional Catholics, Roberts was assigned to “domestic terrorism” as of last fall and was incessantly harassing an FBI whistleblower and his wife.
Since December 2022, 26-year-old Elise has been an active member of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), a pro-life organization that espouses left-wing views on everything other than life. The group is pro-Black Lives Matter, pro-transgenderism, anti-capitalist, and pro-life, and their existence works to detach the right-to-life movement from party politics.
In an interview with The Daily Signal’s Mary Margaret Olohan, Elise said she has a few ideas of what may have provoked the FBI to seek her out. “My colleague at Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, Lauren Handy, is indicted under the FACE Act and is being prosecuted by the federal government,” she noted. “It’s plausible that these FBI agents aimed to collect information from me to help build their case against her.”
PAAU activists Lauren Handy, Jonathan Darnel, and Herb Geraghty all face Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act charges from incidents that reportedly took place before they were members of PAAU.
“While [the FBI agents] reassured my mother that I was not in trouble, it’s also possible that they see me as a threat due to my pro-life activism and intended to investigate me,” Elise theorized. “Yet, to my knowledge, they never attempted to follow up with me or my attorney, so I believe the FBI’s true motive behind their visit to my parents’ home was to intimidate me and my team.” But Elise said even though she’s concerned for her family’s safety, she “refuse[s] to back down.”
Terrisa Bukovinac, PAAU’s founder, told Olohan she thinks “the feds are desperate to find a reason to shut us down and they’re not above coming to our parents’s homes to try to find what they’re looking for.”
“The FBI is targeting PAAU members because our activism challenges the property lines of and disrupts commerce for the abortion industrial complex,” Bukovinac added. “We are especially a problem for them because we are nonviolent and therefore our efforts and ideas are rapidly catching on.”
“PAAU particularly gained prominence after the group exposed the bodies of five premie-sized aborted babies, known as ‘The Five,’ from the clinic of Washington, D.C., abortionist Cesare Santangelo,” reports Olohan. “It had been a year since their discovery of the baby bodies, and D.C. authorities have thus far stonewalled investigations into the babies’ deaths.”
While the organization’s protest tactics have been peaceful, they are notably different from conventional pro-life demonstrations generally run by conservatives. In March 2022, Elise and other PAAU activists were arrested after a nonviolent protest outside of a congressional office building. The pro-life demonstrators stood in the street waving posters with photos of “The Five.”
As Olohan reported, “Ketch has participated in PAAU’s ‘Pink Rose Rescues,’ wherein activists attempt to enter an abortion facility and ‘quietly hand out pink roses to people in the waiting room’—then leave upon being told that they are trespassing.” Elise told Olohan the pink roses have pregnancy resource information.
Elise has also protested outside CVS, which PAAU says has become an abortion business along with Walgreens and Rite Aid by collaborating with the abortion industry to sell abortifacient drugs.
Last December, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta admitted that the DOJ has been weaponizing the FACE Act against pro-life activists in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Consequently, peaceful pro-life activists have had their homes raided by federal agents and face lawfare, fines, and prison time.
Meanwhile, the nearly 100 attacks on pro-life organizations and churches at the hands of pro-abortion domestic terrorists in 2022 have been largely ignored by the FBI, resulting in only a handful of arrests and sparse investigations.
“This weaponization of our government institutions protects the abortion industrial complex, and it reinforces that we must disrupt these unjust power structures,” Elise told Olohan. “The most prevalent domestic threat to our country is the murder of thousands of preborn people by abortion each day. It is not terrorism to nonviolently intervene and rescue these powerless children before their slaughter. I’m willing to risk my own freedom and sacrifice my rights in order to secure theirs.”