In an appearance on Monday, Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens told Poppy Harlow of CNN that Republicans are to blame for the “incendiary rhetoric” that inspired the attack, including former HP CEO and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.
Laguens began by extending her condolences to the families of the victims and by thanking the first responders at the scene on Friday when Robert Louis Dear went on his 5-hour shooting spree at the clinic.
“The heated rhetoric that we’ve seen of late greatly concerns us,” Laguens said. Planned Parenthood believes — based on police reports that Dear was ranting about “baby parts” when he was taken into custody — that the attack on its Colorado Springs location was directly related to a series of videos from anti-abortion extremists the Center for Medical Progress.
Dear’s ex-wife has told authorities that the man behind the terror attack was a deeply religious, anti-abortion conservative.
Laguens has not been shy about assigning blame for the attack on Republican politicians and their smear tactics against the health agency.
“It is offensive and outrageous that some politicians are now claiming this tragedy has nothing to do with the toxic environment they helped create,” she said in a statement.
On CNN, she slammed Fiorina for her refusal to acknowledge the obvious connection between right-wing anti-choice rhetoric and the escalation to violence. On Sunday, Fiorina said that to link the two is to fall victim to “typical left-wing tactics.”
“I thought it was pretty amazing that she tried to — in the midst of this moment — bring in things that she’s been thoroughly discredited around in terms of charges against Planned Parenthood,” said Laguens.
“And of course, the gunman is now quoted as having said almost exactly something similar to what Carly Fiorina just said,” she said.
Lagues went on to call it “disingenuous” to implicate both right and left in the shrillness of the rhetoric around reproductive health care.
“We’re not the people out there telling other people what to do,” she said. “We’re not out there protesting as they try to receive health care. And we’re not saying things that are being quoted by the people who perpetrate this kind of violence.”
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