Addressing the shooting in Colorado Springs at a Planned Parenthood last Friday, Connecticut’s Democrat lawmakers said on Monday that verbalizing opposition to Planned Parenthood “can inflame someone who may want to take action.”
Court records reveal the alleged shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, is a politically unaffiliated man who identified as a woman and has a history of arrests in both North and South Carolina, including for animal cruelty and peeping Tom charges in 2002, and for allegedly pushing his wife “out of a window” in 1997. Charges against him were dropped or dismissed in all cases.
Nevertheless, Democrats—desperate to defend the nation’s largest abortion provider in the wake of the release of videos that exposed its apparent practice of selling the body parts of unborn babies—are attempting to characterize the shooting as having been incited by the rhetoric of Republican pro-lifers who they say should be equated with “terrorists.”
“It’s still early,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, according to the Hartford Courant. “But if the intent here is to intimidate others into walking away from reproductive health services, it certainly looks like a terrorist act.”
Murphy added, while he does not believe anyone can “draw a straight line between the rhetoric of the Republican candidates and murder,” he is certain “that the Republicans are lying through their teeth about Planned Parenthood.”
“The escalating frequency of threats and harassment across the country raises apprehensions in Connecticut,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal who, along with others from his congressional delegation, reportedly is anxious that the “ferocity of the rhetoric” by GOP presidential candidates “may be escalating threats against Planned Parenthood.”
Blumenthal said he wrote a letter in August to U.S. Department of Justice officials indicating the release of the series of videos about Planned Parenthood’s organ-harvesting activities suggest “a targeted campaign attacking the services Planned Parenthood provides.”
Apparently particularly disturbed by some of the statements by GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, Blumenthal said, “When a candidate for president falsely… describes the beating heart of a fetus [being offered for sale] it certainly contributes to a climate of rhetoric that inflames hostility toward Planned Parenthood,” said Blumenthal.
Fiorina, however, was found to be “right on the facts, right on the law, and right on the issues of human decency,” as Breitbart News reported, by a group of experts.
“Demagogic, hateful language raises the risk everywhere,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT). “There are folks on the margin who will act on it,” he said. “Sadly, I think it may have been a contributing factor to what happened in Colorado.”
“I don’t think the incendiary rhetoric of those presidential candidates [is] helpful,” said U.S. Rep. John Larson, adding that he believes “there is more than an element of domestic terrorism afoot in this country.”
Similarly, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty said the attacks against Planned Parenthood by GOP candidates regarding the group’s apparent activities as revealed by the videos “increases the incivility… and for unstable people, it can increase their emotional response.”
“[W]hen [unstable individuals] have access to firearms, it can have dangerous consequences,” Esty added.
“The focus, the attention, the vitriol and rhetoric with regard to Planned Parenthood… can inflame someone who may want to take action,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro. “It makes the environment hateful.”
However, Chris O’Brien, vice president of Connecticut Right to Life, condemned the Colorado shootings and “any act against abortion clinics, abortionists or clinic workers.”
“Violence against any person contradicts the pro-life movement’s mission of building a culture of love and hope,” she added.
J.R. Romano, chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party, said some Democrats are attempting to take political advantage of the shootings.
“These are moments of mourning, not moments to score political points,” he said. “What’s tragic is when you have political entities latching on to this to push a narrative.”
Romano added that mental illness, not anti-abortion rhetoric, is the main issue. “But no one wants to address mental health issues, they just keep getting swept under the rug,” he said.
On Tuesday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D-WFP) visited Planned Parenthood’s Connecticut headquarters in New Haven and while there joined in with fellow Democrats from his state in casting blame on “rhetoric” that has given the abortion business a “tough year” of “doctored films, and a frontal attack,” reports the New Haven Independent.
“I’m here to express support,” Malloy said. “The rhetoric around Planned Parenthood has been disgraceful. They’re trying to be inciteful and it should be disturbing to any right-thinking individual.”
“In America women should be able to make whatever choices they want about their bodies,” the governor added. “I thought it important to come here and to stand together [with you]. I hope other political leaders will step forward and express support and fidelity.”