Court Outburst Validates Concerns about Extreme Anti-Choice Rhetoric, Activists Say

For an RH Reality Check post yesterday, I collected the responses of pro-choice activists to last week's court appearance by the accused Planned Parenthood domestic terrorist, during which he shouted, "I'm a warrior for the babies."

Were his outbursts further proof that extreme anti-choice rhetoric contributed to the November 27 murders?

"I think Dear's comments remove any doubt as to what his motive was," Amy Runyon-Harms, director of ProgressNow Colorado, said in an email to RH Reality Check. "Elected officials who use over-the-top rhetoric in an effort to appease their base need to think twice before doing so and recognize the impact their words have on others."

Karen Middleton, director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, agreed.

"The attacks have gotten worse, and the fact that the gunman repeated the same rhetoric about 'baby parts' we've heard from abortion opponents is not a coincidence," Middleton toldRH Reality Check. "Words have meaning, and people inclined to violence can act on that meaning in awful ways. The result here is that an Iraq war veteran, a mother of two, and a police officer lost their lives, and six children lost their parent...."

"We know that words matter," Vicki Cowart, director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in the statement. "It is time to put an end to the dangerous rhetoric that has permeated our political conversations. Enough is enough--this violence, whether inflicted with words or with weapons, cannot become our normal."

You recall that at a December 1 news conference on the west steps of the capitol, activists named three anti-choice politicians, Rep. Mike Coffman, State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, and State Sen. Tim Neville, as using rhetoric that contributed to the shooting in Colorado Springs.