Two days after the deadly shootings outside a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Republican candidates are finally breaking their silence. Up until now only Democratic candidates had spoken their support for the victims and for Planned Parenthood.
Carly Fiorina, named as “one of the toughest critics… of Planned Parenthood’s alleged harvesting of body parts” by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, called the attacks a “tragedy.” She then took the opportunity to repeat claims about Planned Parenthood selling body parts. Fiorina was questioned about whether her previous comments about the organization, and the press coverage of the controversy of them receiving compensation for body parts, could have influenced violent action. Fiorina responded: “This is so typical of the left to immediately demonize the messenger, because they don’t agree with the message.”
Donald Trump also broke his silence on Sunday, “I think it’s terrible. I mean, terrible. It’s more of the same. And I think it’s a terrible thing. He’s a maniac.” He stated his “tremendous dislike” for Planned Parenthood, and also referenced the controversial videos that claim Planned Parenthood sold aborted baby parts, “Well, 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. I mean, there are a lot of people that are very unhappy about that.”
Mike Huckabee broke his silence on CNN’s State of the Union. Like the other Republican candidates, Huckabee also took the opportunity to attack Planned Parenthood and bring up the alleged selling of body parts: “I think that’s a little bit disingenuous on the part of Planned Parenthood to blame people, who have a strong philosophical disagreement with the dismembering of human babies and with the selling of body parts, to say that we would like to retaliate by sending some mad man into a clinic to kill people,” he said.
Huckabee likened Planned Parenthood’s operations with terrorism groups, stating “We’re not going to have the kind of language that you heard from John Kerry where he talked about legitimizing or rationalizing terrorist actions,” Huckabee said. “There’s no legitimizing, there’s no rationalizing. It was mass murder. It was absolutely unfathomable. 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.”
Reportedly, the shooting suspect told investigators “no more baby parts” following his surrender to law enforcement.
Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains’ CEO, Vicki Cowart stated on AMC’s “This Week”: “We’ve experienced so much hateful language, hateful speech, such a negative environment has been created … around the idea of safe and legal abortion. And we’ve seen that across the country from all sorts of speakers in the last few months. I can’t believe that this isn’t contributing to some folks, mentally unwell or not, thinking that it’s OK to target Planned Parenthood or to target abortion providers.”
Bernie Sanders seemed to agree with this sentiment, stating that although we do not know the shooter’s motive, “What is clear is that Planned Parenthood has been the subject of vicious and unsubstantiated statements attacking an organization that provides critical health care for millions of Americans.” The democratic candidate also made sure to include in his statement “I strongly support Planned Parenthood and the work it is doing and hope people realize that bitter rhetoric can have unintended consequences.”
The shootings resulted in a six hour standoff and the deaths of three people, including one police officer. Nine others were wounded. The suspect, Robert Lewis Dear was apprehended by police on the scene. He surrendered after the arrival of a SWAT team. The suspect’s history includes accusations of domestic violence, Peeping Tom charges, and charges of animal cruelty. None of the charges resulted in any convictions or jail time.