Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders connected the dots and called out the unintended consequences of Republican rhetoric while responding to the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting.
In a statement, Sen. Sanders said, “While we still 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. I strongly support Planned Parenthood and the work it is doing and hope people realize that bitter rhetoric can have unintended consequences.”
The political campaign against Planned Parenthood has involved edited videos that are not factually accurate, congressional hearings which were filled with heated and inaccurate attacks against the health care provider, and even a Republican presidential candidate (Carly Fiorina) flat out lying about Planned Parenthood on the debate stage.
Sen. Sanders was correct. The Republican tactic of using false statements and over the top rhetoric is dangerous because it creates the climate for violence. When Republican rhetoric is combined with easy access to weapons, it makes the perfect recipe for mass shootings.
While suspect has not stated his motive for the shootings, the fact that he chose to carry out his attack inside a Planned Parenthood on the busiest shopping weekend of the year is a very strong hint that points to an anti-choice motive.
Words matter. When Republicans accuse Planned Parenthood of selling fetal tissue for financial gain, and engage in a partisan political campaign that demonizes an important health care provider for millions of Americans, there are seeds being planted for violent acts.
Republicans are chronically irresponsible with their inflammatory rhetoric, and their political campaign to destroy Planned Parenthood may have indirectly gotten three people killed.