AP NewsBreak: Shooting suspect asked direction to clinic

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP NewsBreak: Source: Man accused in Planned Parenthood shooting sought directions to clinic.

FILE – This undated file photos provided by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, shows Colorado Springs shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear. The gunman accused of attacking a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs asked for directions to the facility where he killed a police officer and two civilians, according to a report.

WACO (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A former Fort Hood soldier killed in last month’s Planned Parenthood shootings in Colorado will be remembered at services in Central Texas. While authorities have not publicly committed to Robert Lewis Dear’s motive in a deadly rampage, a police source told the Associated Press he asked at least one person at a nearby shopping center how to find the reproductive health clinic. It’s an emotionally fraught issue that pits two admirable and worthwhile causes—the equality of women and the protection of unborn children—against each other, with no easy answers but very high stakes. But that was the case when our reporter reached out to biologists in the United States this autumn to ask about the value and applications of their research with human fetal tissue.

Within hours, Dear, 57, allegedly stormed the Planned Parenthood packing an arsenal of rifles and handguns, wounding nine people before exchanging gunfire with police. In the wake of the horrific Nov. 27 shooting at a Colorado Springs, Colorado, Planned Parenthood that killed three people and wounded nine, a dialogue that was already toxic has gotten even worse. Colorado Springs police have refused to discuss a motive for the fusillade, but there’s mounting evidence to suggest Dear was deeply concerned about abortion, having rambled to authorities about “no more baby parts” after his arrest. Dear, who lived an off-the-grid life, had a history of acting upon his hatred toward Planned Parenthood by vandalizing abortion clinics in South Carolina, one of his ex-wives, Barbara Micheau said. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that the committee “serves only to continue the witch hunt against Planned Parenthood, its staff and its patients.” The Republican response has been to point out that the October resolution establishing the special committee referred generally to “abortion providers,” but not Planned Parenthood.

It was unclear whether Dear purchased all of them, but despite brushes with the law, he had no felony convictions that would have prevented him from buying a firearm. Abortion-rights proponents have seized the high ground afforded to them by the shooting to accuse pro-lifers of inciting alleged Colorado Springs shooter Robert Dear with violent rhetoric. The videos insinuated that the non-profit health-care provider was breaking the law by supplying the fetal tissue to biological-products companies for financial gain. He served in Iraq and was later stationed in Colorado, where Stewart remained after leaving the Army. (©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc.

In a Facebook post, feminist Jessica Valenti called for pro-choicers to “support Planned Parenthood BECAUSE of the abortions they provide, not in spite of them.” These reactions are understandable but hardly productive. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers on Monday would not discuss Dear’s motive or details of the investigation, but he praised responding officers, who he said rescued 24 people from inside the clinic building and helped remove 300 people from the surrounding businesses where they had been hiding while the shooting unfolded. “They went in at their own peril, but that contributed to basically 24 people getting out of that building safely,” Suthers said of the officers. If Planned Parenthood, which mainly provides contraception, cancer screening and other important health care, was seeking to get rich, it chose a strange way to do so.

Conservative writer Ramesh Ponnuru argues that it’s less the pro-life rhetoric that bothers pro-choicers than the worldview—“that abortion is the unjust killing of living human beings”—and he makes a good case. Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, a US senator from Florida, charged, with utterly no evidence, that the collection of fetal tissue has “created an incentive for people to be pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit”. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has admitted that he had found no evidence of wrongdoing after his panel investigated Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds.

Even President Obama, in a statement supporting Planned Parenthood, says it is “fair to have a legitimate, honest debate about abortion.” Finding common ground is necessary, and I would like to believe it’s possible. Still, there hasn’t been any indication from Republicans that the select committee, which has yet to announce any scheduled hearings, will investigate other abortion providers. No one wants children growing up unloved or in poverty, though each side sees different ways to alleviate that, with liberals emphasizing a government safety net and conservatives touting adoptions and private charities. These are safe topics that can be used to renew the conversation. (“Renew” because there have been plenty of attempts in the past.) But it will require patience, listening, and sincere attempts at understanding. Anthony List, which backs anti-abortion Republican women, called it “the Select Panel investigating Planned Parenthood,” and conservative media outlets like LifeNews and Breitbart have referred to the committee as if the congressional resolution wasn’t intentionally vague. “This is also just one more step in their endless attacks on women’s right to choose, and I think they’re leaving the door open to whatever lets them keep the barrage up,” said Courtney Cochran, communications director for Rep.

As Emily Bazelon noted in the New York Times Magazine on Nov. 30, “Opposition to abortion is an issue with cognizable moral claims on both sides.” I have long grappled with my own feelings about abortion. Acknowledging the humanity of the unborn and believing that a child has the right to be born brings with it the extremely high cost of asking a woman to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth to that child, regardless of whether his or her conception was unintentional or unwanted. The statement outlined the medical advances that have been made possible by fetal tissue, and described the value of its current applications in areas such as developmental biology and research on infectious diseases. The authors wrote of their “grave concerns” about the numerous legislative proposals now in play in the US Congress and in a dozen states — proposals that would restrict or prohibit fetal tissue research.

In the end, because I cannot find a way to justify the idea that a 24-week-old fetus is more deserving of life than a 10-week-old fetus, or that a wanted child is more worthy of life than one who was unplanned, I come down on the side of the child. They warned eloquently that the proposed laws “would limit new research on vaccines not yet developed, for treatments not yet discovered, for causes of diseases not yet understood”. The problem with trumpeting abortion as a social good—and I will pause here to say that Hanna Rosin made this argument eloquently and powerfully in Slate—is that it undermines any opportunity to find common ground. But nobody benefits when they target by proxy an activity that is tangential to the act that they abhor and that is doing a great deal to advance our understanding of health and disease. Arguing that abortion shouldn’t be discouraged suggests that it is a trivial decision, which is callous and can bring pain to those who were the products of unplanned pregnancies.

At the same time, conservatives who refuse to acknowledge that women who have access to reliable and affordable health care and contraceptives are going to have fewer unwanted pregnancies—and fewer abortions—are contributing to the same problem, but in a different way. The videos released this summer by the Center for Medical Progress might not have proved that Planned Parenthood did anything illegal, but they did help both sides reinforce their pre-existing beliefs.

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