Violent anti-choice rhetoric must end, or anti-abortion violence never will

Violent anti-choice rhetoric must end, or anti-abortion violence never will

The man arrested in the Planned Parenthood shooting allegedly told police no more newborn parts. Can we stop pretending that pro-life lies dont having an impact?

Words matter. When we dehumanize people when we call them demons, ogres, and assassins we make it easier for others to do them harm. Lets not feign that we dont know that.

How we talk about abortion matters. We know it, and anti-choice radicals and politicians know how it works. Anti-abortion activists are not stimulating WANTED posters or revealing doctors addresses for fun. Theyre doing it to harass and intimidate, and theyre doing it knowing the long history of violent fanatics use their rhetoric to justify crimes against providers and clinics.

According to an anonymous police source, after Fridays attack on the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, the alleged perpetrator made a comment in its wake about no more newborn components. He specifically targeted the facility.

The shooting may be the most horrifically violent attack on a clinic in the countrys history, but it was far from the first. There have been four arson assaults against centres that provide abortions simply since July, when David Daleiden and the euphemistically named Center for Medical Progress began releasing deceptively edited videos of Planned Parenthood employees discussing fetal tissue gift. Or, as anti-abortion activists and politicians have referred to it, baby parts.

The attack in Colorado, which left three people dead and nine wounded, was shocking, but it was also the predictable result of a culture that demonizes abortion, use fantastical and false rhetoric about Planned Parenthood and allows politicians and activists to construct false representations about women reproductive health.

Do we really think that there are no consequences to claiming that abortion is assassination, or that Planned Parenthood is an organization of money-hungry ogres selling baby components?

In August, US district judge William Orrick blocked the release of more videos from Daleiden citing the history of violence against abortion providers. When 32 lawyers from across the country petitioned Californias attorney general, Kamala Harris, to conduct her investigation into Daleiden rapidly because of a real threat to abortion provider safety, they wrote about how doctors and staffers are stalked and receive death threats, and how this targeted harassment led to the murders of eight physicians since 1993.

Planned Parenthood was cleared of any wrongdoing by every state that investigated it after the videos were released, yet its president, Cecile Richards, was still made to testify in front of the House this September in a sham of a hearing where Republicans grilled Richards on everything from musical acts at organizational events to her personal salary.

After the hearing, the FBI warned that increased assaults on abortion clinics were coming. An FBI intelligence evaluation report noted, It is likely criminal or suspicious incidents will continue to be directed against reproductive health care providers, their staff and facilities.

Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, told a reporter just last month that, since the videos release, the intensity and volume of abhor speech directed at clinics was unprecedented.

People have also been calling clinics and attaining threats to assassination all the doctors or to wipe out all the staff, she said.

The culture of loathe against Planned Parenthood an organization that serves mostly low-income girls and provides legal, safe medical services is so extreme that some felt it entirely appropriate to express their glee over the shootings on Friday, claiming that the people hurt had it coming. And while the gunman was still in the building, Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, went on CNN to criticize the organization, saying, We assured those barbaric videos, and that was something many of us have a legitimate concern about.

Even those defending the organization fell into the trap of stigmatizing abortion, tweeting corrections at media organizations that called the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs an abortion clinic or noting that abortions are a small part of the organizations work. While its true that Planned Parenthood offers a variety of services, I think its safe to say the attacker wasnt there because he was angry about pap smears.

We must insist that the violent radical speech and lies about abortion stop.

People disagree about the morality of abortion, but medical doctors who provide them arent evil: they are doing what they think is right and good for their patients.( That hasnt stopped some conservative media, even in the wake of this tragedy, from calling them demonic .) The women who go to Planned Parenthood, whether for a checkup or an abortion, arent callous animals: theyre people trying to do the best they are in a position for their lives and families.

As we find out more about the shooter, people will claim as they often do that he was a lone wolf, that he was mentally unstable and that he is not at all representative of those who disagree with abortion. Republican politicians will eventually take great pains to denounce the shooters assault, while ignoring all of the lies, speech and culture of misogyny that contributes to this kind of violence.

Some people are already telling the truth, though. Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains released a statement that eyewitness confirm the attacker was motivated by opposition to safe and legal and abortion. The attorney general, Loretta Lynch, called the shooting a crime against girls getting care at Planned Parenthood.

We can all tell the truth about this attack; we dont require a police press conference to corroborated the shooters motive. We know why this happened. Clinic workers who set their lives on the line every day know why this happened. Because of dislike, because of lies, and because terms matter.

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