“Death belongs to God alone, by what right do men touch that unknown thing?” Victor Hugo, “Les Miserables.”
Last Friday’s shooting near a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, once again ignited the flames of debate on both sides of the political aisle. This time, rather than open a candid and robust debate on abortion, as has often occurred this year, it sparked a figurative “he said/she said.”
Some members of the mainstream media, liberal organizations, and Planned Parenthood, claimed—without facts to support them—the shooter was a right-wing, Center for Medical Progress-video-watching, Republican-voting zealot. It’s still unclear what alleged shooter Robert Lewis Dear’s motives were or even exactly what happened in and around Planned Parenthood and the nearby Chase bank.
Given the fuzzy information available and the sprint by both sides to speculate on the shooter’s political motives, it’s tempting to dismiss the simple but glaring irony Friday’s events demonstrated: An organization that aborts children expressed outrage over a shooter on a murder spree. It provides confirmation for conservatives, a controversy for liberals, and a vital lesson about the value of human life
Advocating for Life Is the Opposite of Supporting Murder
In time, fuzzy news and police reports will crystallize, eyewitness testimony will solidify, and hopefully we will all learn the (same) story about what happened Friday. We do know that three people—two civilians and one police officer—were killed during the incident.
Meanwhile, several journalists and others took to Twitter to build their own narrative, absent facts, about Dear’s motives. One of the more outrageous angles was the twofold assumption that he is pro-lifer who planned to attack and murder innocent people at Planned Parenthood and that, consequently, pro-lifers as a collective are somehow liable for the shooter’s actions.
Well-known politico and CNN commentator David Alexrod of The New York Times jumped on board, asking:
Planned Parenthood advanced this line, too:
This woman called out The Federalist by name, implying that our coverage of Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts trafficking spawned the shooter’s plans.
Aside from the fact that no evidence yet supports any of these claims, the idea that pro-life advocacy would cause Dear to murder is so implausible, illogical, and far from the bigger, more vital point of the entire tragedy that it serves as more of a distraction than a salient point worth debating.
Pro-life voters, politicians, and organizations spend time and resources actively trying to ensure that every unborn baby has a chance to breathe oxygen and that every pregnant mother is supported and realizes she can offer her child up for an adoption instead of aborting. The idea that these folks would even passively support the murder of anyone related to Planned Parenthood is so absurd one can only conclude it aims to distract from the sole issue here: The Right supports life in all its stages and all its forms and sizes, and the Left does not.
Inconsistency Is the Left’s Only Consistency
The legalization of abortion and subsequent proliferation of hundreds of Planned Parenthood facilities around the country has fostered a moral relativism even the sharpest of pro-choice advocates often fail to see. Glossing over this irony, especially during tragedies like Friday’s shootings, allows pro-choicers to continue supporting the abortion of millions of babies, the harvesting and selling of their parts for profit, and the emotional damage abortions cause the mothers who carried those children in their wombs.
What ardent supporters of Planned Parenthood like Andy Richter fail to see is how little sense this makes, both philosophically and practically. Generally speaking, conservatives—who are not the same as loner nutjobs who have identified with liberal, independent, and conservative groups—unequivocally condemn and oppose violence and the ending of innocent life at any age, for any reason, in any location, by any means. Why? It’s the only consistent position to take.
Planned Parenthood advocates, in all your righteous indignation, how exactly would you justify moral outrage over a gunman brandishing his weapon at abortionists as they butcher babies? Yet if the shooter’s actions are reprehensible—and let’s again make clear that murder obviously is—what makes them so different? Motive? Legal sanction?
If the person who dies is gestationally 26 weeks old (the latest-term abortion allowed in Colorado—when, by the way, an infant can survive and thrive outside the womb with proper medical care), what’s the moral and philosophical difference between that person and 44-year-old police officer Garret Swasey, the pro-life, churchgoing husband and father who was one of the victims of this crime?
Planned Parenthood advocates will say the difference is location and viability, but science and medicine have repeatedly debunked the notion that a “fetus” only becomes a “baby” post-birth. So either both murders are right or both are wrong. To want it both ways is to be intellectually dishonest at best and to possess a dysfunctional moral compass at worst.
Let’s All Support Life in All Forms
Surely the heroic actions of Swasey—a man who opposed Planned Parenthood’s mission, but willingly entered its grounds to stop a crime and died doing so—kill multiple birds with one sacrificial stone, blasting stereotypes about conservatives, pointing out the consistency of pro-life positions, and eviscerating Planned Parenthood’s own inconsistent views on life.
The fact that conservatives both oppose Planned Parenthood yet condemn the Planned Parenthood shooter’s actions is the only position that is consistent and plausible.
Once this story completely unfolds, there is still time and there may rightfully be a place for a debate about mental illness, right-wing zealots, and even guns. But for now the biggest story is the narrative arc that unfolded Friday, pointing out that we have neglected to value life from conception to natural death.
This cannot be overlooked or overstated. If we as a society continue to remain outraged over murders in one category while glossing over murders in another category, we have and will pay a steep, moral price. This double-mindedness numbs our senses to murder, robs us of our nation’s peace, and steals the joy babies and family bring.
This article has been amended to reflect that there are hundreds, not thousands, of Planned Parenthood facilities. We regret the error.