There has been ample hemming and hawing from Republicans concerning the motivations of Robert Dear, the suspect involved in the Planned Parenthood shooting that occurred over the weekend in Colorado Springs, CO. Ted Cruz referred to him as a “leftist transgender activist,” while other candidates shied away from implicating this as an act of domestic terrorism, or even a politically motivated attack.
However, Dear’s own words leave no doubt as to what he was thinking. Even more worrisome, they align closely with what Republican presidential candidates have been spouting for the last few months.
Dear allegedly voiced his reason for the shooting moments after he finished: “No more baby parts.”
This is frighteningly similar to what politicians bent on defunding Planned Parenthood have been claiming. Earlier this year, a video surfaced, allegedly showing a Planned Parenthood director discussing the sale of fetal tissue. The video has since been proven as misleading and erroneous, but that hasn’t stopped Carly Fiorina from doubling down on her claims that Planned Parenthood is trying to sell “baby parts” to make a profit, or from Cruz calling Planned Parenthood a “criminal enterprise.”
False rhetoric such as this perpetuates harmful notions concerning Planned Parenthood, an already controversial organization due to its abortion services. In the minds of the uneducated and uninformed, this supposed “sale” only compounds the issues they see with it and gives them justification to retaliate in any ways they see fit—in the case of Dear, this involved a tragic shooting.
Even in the aftermath of the shooting, Republican candidates have refused to acknowledge their false comments could have incited the violence, instead continuing to propagate the notion that Planned Parenthood has been selling body parts.
Fiorina told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace that, “This is so typical of the left to immediately demonize the messenger, because they don’t agree with the message. 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 fared even worse, stating during CNN’s "State of the Union" that, “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.”
Huckabee would do well to remember that fetuses are not, in fact, human babies and that Planned Parenthood is certainly not dismembering them. It remains disturbing that Dear seems to have obtained his justification for the shooting from the GOP candidates, though they remain willfully obtuse to that, continuing to make the same distorted claims that may have caused the violence in the first place.
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