In the ever-hostile and batshit crazy dick-measuring contest that is the Republican presidential primary election, factually inaccurate and aggressive rhetoric is par for the course. Hostile rhetoric is one thing, but hostile action is another thing entirely. And last Saturday, a – you guessed it! – white man opened fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, CO. A police officer and two citizens were killed, and nine others were injured in the hours-long standoff with the gunman and local police. In the aftermath of the devastating attack, police have reported that the gunman said, “No more baby parts” after the shooting.
Which brings us full circle – earlier this summer, the Center for Medical Progress released a severely manipulated and misinformed series of videos from going undercover at Planned Parenthood with the purpose of alleging that the organization – which provides healthcare for close to 3 million Americans every year, many of whom are economically disadvantaged – was illegally selling “baby parts” from aborted fetuses. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards stood trial for hours, and many Planned Parenthood centers have been the focus of continued protests. Since the release of the wholly inaccurate videos, the abortion debate has become even more polarized and political, with Republican presidential nominees taking extreme sides in the pro-life movement to bolster their campaigns. In the months following the release of the videos, Planned Parenthood and the overall debate over a woman’s right to an abortion – which has been a legal right since 1973 – has intensified with hateful, hostile, and abusive rhetoric, particularly amongst the Republican politicians and those running for president.
At the first Republican presidential debate in early August, candidate Marco Rubio said that he believes abortion should be illegal, regardless of length of the pregnancy, and regardless of whether or not the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. Carly Fiorina has notoriously stood by the CMP videos and blindly ignored evidence of their inaccuracies, as well as stayed silent on Planned Parenthood’s many invitations to debate.
The result of this aggressive speech is, surprise surprise, aggressive action. Since the CMP video release, there has been an increase in attacks on abortion providers, peaking with the shooting on Saturday.
And yet the Republican Party has distanced itself from the attempted mass murder, scoffing off allegations that the harmful language they regularly use against Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose has any connection with the onslaught of violence toward abortion clinics nationwide. Fiorina has said, “What I would say to anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion or opposes the sale of body parts is, this is typical left-wing tactics.” Mike Huckabee had a similar response, “I think that’s a little bit disingenuous on the part of Planned Parenthood to blame people, who have a strong philosophical disagreement with the dismembering of human babies and with the selling of body parts, to say that we would like to retaliate by sending some mad man into a clinic to kill people.”
Hateful word vomit like Huckabee’s (“dismembering human babies,” seriously!?) is precisely the problem, exacerbated even more by fellow candidate Ted Cruz’s transphobia at a campaign event in Iowa yesterday, claiming that the shooter is a “transgendered leftist activist.”
Democratic candidates have all chimed in as well, with Bernie Sanders stating, “While we still do not know the shooter’s motive, what is clear is that Planned Parenthood has been the subject of vicious and unsubstantiated statements…I strongly support Planned Parenthood and the work it is doing and hope people realize that bitter rhetoric can have unintended consequences.”
Hillary Clinton said, at a campaign event in New Hampshire, “we should be supporting Planned Parenthood, not attacking it," and that “Republicans that claim they just hate big government are only too happy to have government step in when it comes to women's bodies and heath.”
The attack on the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood was nothing short of domestic terrorism and an attack on women’s health in a culture that is increasingly concerned with policing women’s’ bodies, and the Republication Party is constantly fueling flames of fear and spewing inaccurate, odious discourse at the public.
So needless to say, we #StandWithPP. Now, and always.
Images Via Facebook and Giphy
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