Planned Parenthood attack is domestic terrorism

tags: terrorism, Planned Parenthood, Robert L Dear

Johanna Schoen is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University in New Brunswick and author of “Abortion after Roe” (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).  johanna.schoen@rutgers.edu

The shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, which left three people dead, is a domestic terrorist attack, one in a long line of such attacks against abortion providers and women’s health-care institutions. It is also the unfortunate outcome of a months-long anti-abortion campaign against Planned Parenthood.

Starting in July, the Center for Medical Progress released a series of videos attempting to discredit Planned Parenthood for allegedly selling fetal tissue. The videos were followed by congressional hearings, attempts to — yet again — defund Planned Parenthood, and the exhortations of Republican presidential candidates jumping on the issue as an opportunity to show the electorate their anti-abortion colors and score political points with lies about abortion and fetal research.

The campaign also ignited a new wave of violence against abortion providers: threats, arson, and protests against abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood in particular, culminating in the murder of three. Since those videos surfaced, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, where Friday’s shootings happened, had been beset with almost daily protests.

This is not a new cycle. Indeed, it follows a long-established link between inflammatory language surrounding the fetus and violence against abortion providers that dates back to the creation of an anti-abortion propaganda campaign in the 1980s.

During that decade, anti-abortion activists embarked on a concerted effort to redefine abortion as murder and the fetus as a baby. To depict abortion providers as murderers, the Chicago anti-abortion activist Joseph Scheidler, then at the height of his prominence, brought together a small group of health professionals who had provided abortions, assisted in them, or managed abortion clinics. He asked them to testify in front of large anti-abortion audiences about their past work and videotaped them as they “confessed” to the murder of infants. Then he distributed the videos through anti-abortion networks and websites. By repeating these stories over and over again, the anti-abortion movement created a story line that stuck. ...

Read entire article at The Philadelphia Inquirer

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