The XX Factor

Planned Parenthood Caused the Colorado Clinic Shooting, Says State Rep

Hostages leave the Colorado Springs, Colorado, Planned Parenthood facility under attack on Nov. 27, 2015.

Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

A Colorado state representative has called Planned Parenthood the “real culprit” in the Nov. 27 attack on a Colorado Springs clinic that killed three and injured nine. In a statement to the Colorado Independent on Tuesday, Rep. JoAnn Windholz wrote that the “true instigator” of all violence brought against Planned Parenthood clinics is Planned Parenthood itself. “Violence begets violence,” she wrote. “So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS.”

Her comments go further to blame Planned Parenthood for alleged killer Robert Lewis Dear’s attack than any major Republican player has dared, but not by much. “This is so typical of the left, to immediately begin demonizing the messenger because they don’t agree with the message,” Carly Fiorina said on Fox News Sunday of the Center for Medical Progress propaganda videos that appear to have inspired Dear to tell police, “No more baby parts.” But Dear’s motive, Fiorina believes, is a valid one. “The vast majority of Americans agree what Planned Parenthood is doing is wrong,” Fiorina claimed. On Wednesday, Federalist editor Sean Davis tweeted to his 30,000 followers, “PP aborts babies, chops them up, and sells their parts for ‘better than break even,’ ” adding a popular hashtag that Dear would approve of: #PPSellsBabyParts.

“The left goes on ‘auto-pilot’ blaming everyone in sight when they should be looking in a mirror” after an attack on abortion clinic, Windholz wrote. “These facts and overall mission of the abortion industry would easily send anyone over the hill who wasn’t rational.” On Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, Donald Trump also stressed Dear’s mental state while justifying his apparent convictions. “Well, this was an extremist. And this was a man who they said prior to this was mentally disturbed,” Trump said. “I will tell you, there is a tremendous group of people that think it’s terrible, all of the videos that they’ve seen with some of these people from Planned Parenthood talking about it like you’re selling parts to a car.”

The idea seems to be that Dear was correct both in his facts about Planned Parenthood’s activities and in his beliefs about the morality of abortion but incorrect in his violent response. In this scenario, Dear’s intellectual position is both highly popular and, contra Windholz, entirely “rational,” but his actions are due to mental illness. 

So what is the correct course of action to take against baby-killers and baby-choppers, if not vigilante capital punishment? The answer isn’t immediately clear, but in today’s anti-choice landscape, the notion that abortion providers deserve to die isn’t fringe at all. Just a few days before the shooting, Ted Cruz celebrated his endorsement by an anti-choice activist who’s advocated for the execution of doctors who perform abortion. Windholz’s words might be the plainest, but mainstream Republicans’ impulse to hold Planned Parenthood at fault for terrorism perpetrated against it is barely concealed.