Heckle: Republican party shoulders blame for violent narrative

Michael Heckle

Planned Parenthood was attacked Nov. 27, 2015, by right-wing extremist Robert Dear, who called into question the very nature of the pro-life versus pro-choice debate. While there are arguments on both sides that are both intelligent and valid, only one has created an atmosphere ideal for the growth of terrorism and violence. It is not the arguments themselves that have led to such drastic actions, but the presentation of these arguments by a few advocates of the pro-life platform.

Sadly, these advocates hold positions of power across various forms of government. In turn, these proponents — specifically members of the Republican Party — used their influence to spin a false narrative that directly led to the death of three innocent people at the hands of a mad man. As the American people are charged with selecting the next commander in chief, the Republican Party owes it to the public to set the record straight. 

While the fault of the action itself lies solely on the shoulders of one man and one man alone — Robert Dear — political figures in the Republican Party, along with the help of the pro-life borderline extremist group known as the Center for Medical Progress created a deceitful narrative that created what Planned Parenthood described as a “toxic atmosphere” toward the women’s health service. With the false accusations of the soliciting of “baby parts” pointed directly at Planned Parenthood and the now infamous Robert Dear quote, “no more baby parts,” it’s not logically unsound to claim that the lies spread by members of the Republican Party and the Center for Medical Progress provided motive.

While the Republican Party is well within its right to challenge decisions and actions of any organization it pleases, and no one is being blamed for being pro-life, the manner in which it did so was disingenuous, dishonest and, as we can now see, dangerous.

By creating and supporting the lie that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue, which it wasn’t, in addition to Carly Forina’s claim to have seen a video featuring a newly aborted baby “kicking and screaming,”  which does not exist, three people are now dead at the hands of a mentally unstable man.

While the Republican Party never, nor would ever, condone violence, it shares moral responsibility in the events that took place. Instead of using the multitude of logically sound and morally persuasive arguments that make up the majority of pro-life claims, Carly Forina, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, the Center for Medical Progress and other members of the GOP chose to create a lie.

Not only does this lie in itself weaken the pro-life argument at its core — if you have to lie to promote a claim, then one can assume that such a claim is devoid of truthful arguments — it creates an atmosphere of resentment in the hearts of many right-wing proponents. This can be seen in the outpouring of support toward the actions of Dear on Twitter. While these represent the most extreme of views, it’s terrifying to believe that a group that claims to be pro-life can be so pro-murder.

What is even more disturbing than the support on Twitter is the reactions of Republicans who helped string the narrative. Cruz even went so far as to blame the other side of the aisle, baselessly accusing Dear of being a “transgender leftist advocate.” In the same vein, Forina dismissed critics of her outright lies as “typical left-wing tactics.” Yet, not one person involved in creating the narrative that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue for profit has apologized or retracted his or her false claims, even though no evidence has been found to support these false claims.

While no one is asking them to accept responsibility for the shootings, not one has admitted the very clear connection between the false narrative and shootings.

While no one in the Republican Party pulled a trigger, nor did then attempt to incite violence, violence occurred because of the party’s dishonestly to the American people. Not only has this bastardization of truth severely crippled the integrity of the pro-life movement, it became the inspiration of terrorism and death.

The least that the Republican Party can do, especially as we get closer to selecting our next president, is set the record straight about the nature of Planned Parenthood and accept the moral responsibility that its lies brought to the organization.