The very bitter debate over Planned Parenthood, in 6 moments

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Despite Planned Parenthood shooting, abortion-related violence used to be worse.

In the days after a shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on Friday left three people dead and nine injured, details are starting to emerge about the victims.The Republican presidential candidates waited more than 20 hours before making a public peep on Friday’s hours long terror attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado.Nancy Kerrigan, a two-time Olympic medalist, grew up with Swasey in Massachusetts and said she was “devastated” by his death. “You can’t explain it.

Cruz who described the reproductive health clinic a “criminal enterprise,” guilty of “multiple felonies” during a GOP debate this fall, became the first Republican candidate to say anything in public about the attack when he tweeted his condolences on Saturday: “We know that police officers and civilians have been targeted and lost their lives and our prayers are right now are with the families,” Cruz said. Although Planned Parenthood denies vehemently that it profits from abortion, the fetal-tissue issue has kept GOP anti-abortion rhetoric hot for months, Enter Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate aiming to shake up the political narrative surrounding the Friday shootings and the suspect’s motives: “The media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there’s very little evidence to indicate that,” Cruz told reporters Sunday when the subject came up while he was campaigning in Newton, Iowa. The two were buddies as well as budding figure skaters in Stoneham, Mass. “I called him ‘Ugh,’ he called me ‘Yuck,’” Kerrigan told the Boston Herald. “We were always teasing each other like a brother and sister.” Swasey, 44, and two others were killed Friday in a standoff between police and Robert Lewis Dear, the alleged gunman. Dear is accused of killing a police officer and two civilians — an Iraq war veteran and a mother of two — who were accompanying separate friends to the clinic. Yet the details of the case reveal that this case seem closer to that of the man diagnosed with schizophrenia who shot then-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six people in Arizona than to past abortion clinic shooters.

From the Texas Tribune: When a reporter reminded Cruz it has been reported the suspect, Robert Dear, made a comment about “baby parts” while being apprehended, Cruz retorted, “It’s also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and a transgendered leftist activist. Kerrigan, 46, learned of his death from Swasey’s parents — who now live in Colorado. “We were together an awful lot as children,” she told the Herald. “I would ride my bike to his house and we’d hang out at the pool. We were together all the time, whether skating or not.” “I am not surprised with the way he was living his life, as police officer helping others,” she said. “It makes total sense.

Unlike other clinic shooters, Dear has no history of pro-life activity, just numerous run-ins with the law, including allegations of some rather strange behavior that ranges from “peeping tomism” to animal cruelty. When “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace introduced Fiorina during his show on Sunday, he noted that the former HP executive has “taken a hard line” against Planned Parenthood and described her as “one of the toughest critics.” Although Fiorina made it clear that “nothing justifies this,” referring to Friday’s terror attack, she described the gunman as a “protestor” and inexplicably linked him to the Black Lives Matter movement. “[P]resumably, this man who appears deranged, if nothing else, will be tried for murder as he should be,” Fiorina told Wallace. “But it’s a tragedy, especially on a holiday weekend.” When Wallace asked Fiorina if she believed her false claims that Planned Parenthood harvested baby parts could have helped to motivate the attacker, the long-shot candidate defended her attacks on Planned Parenthood before blaming “typical left-wing tactics” for “demonizing the messenger.” “First, it is not alleged,” she said. “Planned Parenthood acknowledged several weeks ago they would no longer take compensation for body parts, which sounds like an admission they were doing so.” “This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don’t agree with the message,” she continued. “The vast majority of Americans agree what Planned Parenthood is doing is wrong.” “So, he’s a mentally disturbed person.

This is a murderer.” According to the Daily Beast, Cruz’s spokesman said the Texas Republican was making a wry point about the media coverage of the story. Reporters were trying to get a reaction, said spokesman Rick Tyler, when the story is still raw, “little is confirmed and a lot of misinformation is being reported”: Daily Beast. Neighbors who live near Dear’s former South Carolina home say he hid food in the woods and lived off selling prints of his uncle’s paintings of Southern plantations and the Masters golf tournament. Marc Pino told the Associated Press. “You don’t realize how much you love someone until you can’t tell them anymore,” co-pastor Scott Dontanville, who preached yesterday, said, reported NBC News.

More from the New York Times: Asked what news reports Cruz was referring to, a spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, pointed to a website called But aside from these suggestive biographical facts, there is another good reason to believe that Dear’s alleged actions had little to do with a larger social movement. The violent radicalism that led to abortion clinic shootings represents a historically unique phase of the right-to-life movement, one that seems to have largely died more than a decade ago.

A law enforcement official said Dear told authorities “no more baby parts” after being arrested, part of a rambling statement that investigators are parsing to understand the reasoning. In other Cruz news, NBC News reported that the senator “escalated tensions with Marco Rubio over the weekend as both presidential candidates continue to rise in recent polls.” Cruz suggested that his Republican rival “is attempting to mislead voters” with false attacks. “I think Senator Rubio’s campaign is very, very dismayed at conservatives coming together behind our campaign and is attempting to mislead voters in an effort to slow that down,” Cruz said before a campaign town hall in Lamoni, Iowa, on Saturday.

Cruz’s response came after a pro-Rubio super PAC released an ad last week attacking Cruz for voting to weaken national security and limit the government’s ability to fight terrorists. The vote referenced is Cruz’s support of the USA Freedom Act, which ended the U.S. government’s bulk collection of phone metadata on Sunday: NBC News. Violent radicals first attracted attention in the 1980s when they began orchestrating many late-night clinic bombings that were successfully timed to avoid casualties.

Attorney John Walsh said investigators have been in touch with lawyers from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights and National Security divisions, suggesting officials could pursue federal charges in addition to state homicide ones. Many of these attackers were radical Calvinists who believed that, as members of God’s elect, they could legitimately right the sins of the world through violence.

One possible avenue is the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which makes it a crime to injure or intimidate clinic patients and employees. “The case may fit the criteria for a federal domestic terrorism case, but based on my experience, I would be very surprised if this is not simply a local prosecution,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general. “Murder charges will be more than adequate on the local level.” Planned Parenthood said witnesses believe the gunman was motivated by his opposition to abortion. He was shot after stepping outside of the clinic to get cell phone service, according to his brother Leyonte Chandler. “So he ran back inside, trying to help out others,” he continued. “I don’t know where he was at, as far as how many more breaths he had, but he knew. And there’s no excuse for killing other people, whether it’s happening inside the Planned Parenthood headquarters, inside their clinics where many millions of babies die, or whether it’s people attacking Planned Parenthood.” Jeb!, who has complained that $500,000 spent federally for women’s health is too much money, merely said on Saturday that “there is no acceptable explanation for this violence, and I will continue to pray for those who have been impacted,” in a statement. Bloomberg Politics reports that Cruz answered that very question by saying, in essence, that Trump has pointed out the virtue of standing up to the Washington establishment — and Cruz has done that for years.

These Calvinists believed that “it was appropriate for the godly man to take the law into his own hands, because his hands were the tools of the Lord.” This theological fringe, however, did not target abortion providers for execution until the 1990s. Whatever authorities decide is sure to be controversial, given the political murkiness of Dear’s statements and the debate over Planned Parenthood, which was reignited in July when anti-abortion activists released undercover video they said showed the group’s personnel negotiating the sale of fetal organs. In contrast, on Friday night, Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both tweeted that they “#StandWithPP,” while Martin O’Malley followed suit on Saturday. They were controlled throughout the 1980s by the leadership of the larger “rescue” movement, which orchestrated blockades of clinics in the late 1980s and early 1990s in cites such as New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Wichita.

The Colorado Springs clinic, though, has been heavily damaged and will be closed for an uncertain amount of time, said Vicki Cowart, the regional head of Planned Parenthood. Coalescing in the Army of God organization, these extremists quickly declared war: “We, the remnant of God fearing men and women of the United States of Amerika [sic], do officially declare war on the entire child-killing industry.” Paul Hill, a Presbyterian minister, emerged as the Army of God’s spiritual leader. Hill and his followers emphasized a bellicose reading of the Bible by stressing the significance of Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” A series of shootings soon followed.

Between 1993 and 1998, a total of seven people were killed, including three doctors, two receptionists, a clinic escort and an off-duty police officer.

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