The mass shooting last week at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs has overturned the rock that anti-abortion extremists hide underneath — sending them scurrying out into the light.
The shootings Friday, which left a police officer and two civilians dead, knocked Republican presidential candidates for a bit of a loop, although most of them eventually denounced the accused killer as a terrorist — with some major caveats.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the first to comment directly on the killings, denouncing the shooting as “horrific” a day later at a campaign event, and Mike Huckabee condemned the shootings as “domestic terrorism.”
However, Huckabee didn’t stop there.
The former Arkansas governor and Fox News broadcaster accused Planned Parenthood of killing “millions of babies” and presented anti-abortion activists as the true victims of the terrorist act.
The accused shooter, 59-year-old Robert Lewis Dear, allegedly muttered “no more body parts” as he was arrested — and perhaps no other GOP candidate has talked more about the misleading videos that promote those claims than Carly Fiorina.
“Anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion, or opposes the sale of body parts, is this is typical left-wing tactics,” Fiorina said.
A solid majority of Americans agree with the U.S. Supreme Court that abortion should remain legal in all or most cases, with rates that have generally remained stable for decades.
But anti-abortion zealots are seizing the shooter’s notoriety to broadcast the same things they’ve been saying all along on blogs, niche sites and conservative Christian media.
“Robert Lewis Dear aside, Planned Parenthood murders helpless preborn children,” said Donald Spitz, who operates the Army of God website associated with anti-abortion terrorists Eric Rudolph, Clayton Waagner and James Kopp. “These murderous pigs at Planned Parenthood are babykillers and they reap what they sow. In this case, Planned Parenthood selling of aborted baby parts came back to bite them.”
“Anyone who supports abortion has the blood of babies on their hands,” Spitz added.
Spitz spoke Monday with MSNBC, where he described fellow abortion foes as “hypocritical” if they had condemned the Colorado Springs killings.
“I think Planned Parenthood is an evil organization, so I didn’t lose any sleep when I heard about it,” Spitz said. “They sell baby parts, and they reap what they sow, and now they’re complaining about it.”
He again defended his friend Scott Roeder, who was sentenced to 50 years without parole for gunning down Dr. George Tiller at his Wichita, Kansas, church in 2009 — saying the convicted killer had stopped the physician from “providing abortions.”
Roeder was last heard from in September, when he urged conservatives to commit tax fraud to defund Planned Parenthood — which many Republican lawmakers appeared willing to shut down the federal government to accomplish that until the Colorado shootings.
Both the National Right to Life Committee and Americans United for Life strongly condemned violence and unlawful activity, but another anti-abortion extremist said Planned Parenthood employees and patients should expect the threat of violence.
“After all these years and millions of babies that have gone to their death, violence is to be anticipated,” Judie Brown, president of American Life League, told MSNBC. “Because it’s acceptable to violently kill a baby, so why isn’t it acceptable to violently kill other people?”
Perhaps that’s a question that Cruz should ask Troy Newman — the head of the anti-abortion Operation Rescue group whose endorsement the GOP candidate boasted about eight days before the shootings.
Newman, who has argued the government should execute “abortionists” and argued that killers of abortion providers should be allowed to claim political motivations as a defense, played an instrumental role in creating the bogus Planned Parenthood videos that appear to have influenced Dear’s rampage.
The series of deceptively edited videos were produced by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress and its founder, David Daleiden — who coordinated the operation with Newman and his group.
Newman has been largely relegated to the political fringes due to his militant stance and Operation Rescue’s violent associations, but the anti-abortion activist was able to leverage the 26-year-old Daleiden to steer Republicans toward shutting down the government and promoting their misleading claims during GOP presidential debates.
Their words apparently turned to action when Dear, whose ex-wife described as a religious conservative with a history of violence and hatred of abortion, walked into the Planned Parenthood clinic with a rifle and killed three people.
Newman has not yet commented on the mass shooting.
Some other prominent anti-abortion extremists — including Philip “Flip” Benham of Operation Save America and Ken Ham, the creationist pastor who accused Planned Parenthood of murder one day before the shootings — have also been silent on last week’s deadly rampage.
Benham’s sons, whose HGTV reality show was canceled after their extremist views were publicized, condemned the shootings as violations of the “prof-life” movement — but they warned darkly that secular forces would exploit the act of terror to persecute Christians.
Jason and David Benham repeated Cruz’s assertion that Dear identified as a woman and attacked Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, for suggesting the gunman was motivated by anti-abortion extremist rhetoric.
“If Ms. Cowart’s statement is left unchecked and becomes the accepted narrative, then being pro-life in America will become illegal,” the men wrote in a jointly signed column. “Why? Because it’s considered ‘extreme.’ And it won’t stop there – in time, all Christians who believe the Bible to be true and are willing to give it a voice in culture will also be considered ‘extreme.’”
“We stand up and reject this narrative,” the Benhams added. “It is Vicki Cowart and the thousands of others who make money off dismembered babies who are extreme. They’ve created a ‘poisonous environment’ for innocent children, many of whom would be here today if only they had a voice.”
Their apparent apology for the killer’s actions was joined by another anti-abortion extremist who spoke with MSNBC.
“We never approve of violence against anybody, whether it’s the unborn babies or the clients of Planned Parenthood or anybody else,” said Ann Scheidler, vice president of the Pro-Life Action League. “(But) it’s not the fault of the pro-life movement that someone found out that Planned Parenthood is doing these things. It’s the fault of Planned Parenthood for selling the baby parts.”
“Planned Parenthood is a villain,” Scheidler added. “They undermine the integrity of families and the morality of young teen girls and kill babies on a regular basis, day after day. We’re not going to say, Oh, poor Planned Parenthood, we should never say anything negative about what they call ‘services,’ because they are a blight on our culture.”
Watch this Facebook video by another anti-abortion extremist who described Planned Parenthood as “the real terrorists”:
Planned Parenthood are the real terrorists!!
Posted by Dave Daubenmire on Monday, November 30, 2015