Colorado Springs Shootings: You May Choose Silence, But I Don't Recommend It

We're settling in after Friday's attack on yet another Planned Parenthood facility in particular, but on women in general. Our responses can and will run the gamut, silence being one of them, but I don't recommend it. I am happy that no Planned Parenthood staff were harmed, but I'm dismayed that anyone is still dying due to ideologically driven extremists refusing to accept the agency of women. What are we going to do? Here are a few thoughts for an over-simplified scheme of what people should do based on which category they find themselves in:

1. People who provide abortion care have to speak up so that their friends and loved ones who care about them will have a vested interest in speaking out against this kind of terroristic action that is tacitly approved when we do nothing. As long as those who love us, our neighbors, and our religious communities don't know about what we do, they have no stake in acting politically on this issue or others. Our silence is killing us.

2. We who understand the need for abortion availability can no longer sympathetically stand with Planned Parenthood or any other facility that finds itself in the crosshairs of abortion extremism. We must act on behalf of women and reproductive rights. We must make sure that every political engagement of the system we consider is filtered through our concern about impact on reproductive rights. We must, if we have to, vote primarily in the context of this issue alone. For example, we cannot allow major political candidates to accept endorsement from abortion terrorists without penalty. The stark contrast between abortion extremism and democratic political change, the only type of change we should accept on this issue in either direction, can only be made when in every way we engage the political system it becomes clear that abortion opponents only plan to respect the law if they agree with it. That is in addition to our individual responsibilities to normalize abortion in every venue, not in an obnoxious way, but at the lunch counter, on the bus stop, at the kids play date, at Bible study, at temple, in every venue where it is reasonable to speak, and even in some places where it feels unreasonable to speak up.

3. The bigger task remaining is for those who oppose abortion, or who have at least stated that they "have problems with it." I challenge abortion opponents to mount a "Not in My Name" campaign. When abortion extremists "kill in the name of life," those who oppose abortion and do not speak out against these extreme actions opposing the same, offer taciturn approval. After all, the extremists feel that they are doing what you want to happen and thereby they justify their means because you never expressed disapproval of them. Those who offer the flaming rhetoric quickly disavow that it was their intentions for this type of thing to happen, and yet Senator Ted Cruz was able to accept the endorsement of Rev. Flip Benham, who openly endorses assassination of abortion providers as justifiable homicide without a wrinkle. If you oppose abortion because you think that it is wrong because it ends life, then there is no justifying what happened in Colorado Springs yesterday by people who agree with you. Dr. Martin Luther King said that you have a moral obligation to be not cooperative with evil. What are you going to do?

As I close, sensing the pivot by opponents of gun control and others who seek to avoid framing this as domestic terrorism, facilitated by an unwillingness to examine the exact same extremism domestically that we are poor on foreign soil, I say in response to the assertions that are already surfacing, i.e. that this terrorist, conveniently soft labeled as "the shooter," was not targeting Planned Parenthood but may have in fact been in the process of a robbery and simply ran into the facility and the like, that even if this is the case, each point made previously still holds. We must resist any effort by power-seeking opportunists who seek to absolve themselves of any responsibility that they hold for the carnage created by their cynical manipulation of electoral power by demonizing women and abortion providers off the hook. We will not allow you to run for political cover as you flee the mess that you are creating. No matter what the truth is about the Colorado Springs shooting horror, three people lost their lives during the season that we have set aside to have things to be grateful for. Abortion vitriolists, stop it! By all means, oppose abortion as is your right to do so, but we demand that you do so in ways that reflect the exaggerated value for life that you hold sacrosanct.

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