Diving Down the Rabbit Hole

Ted Cruz warns that we should not leap to conclusions. Just because the suspect charged with shooting up the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado told police "No more baby parts," Cruz does not want us to conclude that the shooting may have been inspired by misleading anti-abortion rhetoric about selling "baby parts."

Instead, Cruz proposes an alternative explanation: The alleged shooter was a "transgendered leftist activist." Wow. That's not a leap to a logical conclusion. It's an Alice in Wonderland leap down the rabbit hole. And speaking of rabbit holes, Carly Fiorina, says that drawing any connection between the shooter and her wild, heated and unsubstantiated talk about Planned Parenthood selling baby parts is nothing more than "typical left-wing tactics." Truly amazing.

But Cruz and Fiorina are not the only ones diving down the rabbit hole. During and after the tragic shooting in Colorado, conservative commentators were desperately trying to suggest that the shooting was inspired by ISIS or Al Qaeda, while anti-abortion activists quickly seized on the possibility that it was not an attack on Planned Parenthood; it was just a bank robbery gone bad. Sure.

Last week's attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs will not be the last episode of anti-clinic violence in America. It was far from the first. Abortion providers report that there have been eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 186 arsons and thousands of other incidents since 1977. In such an environment, political aspirants should not be tripping over facts and themselves in their rush to be more inflammatory than their opponents in attacking Planned Parenthood.

When it comes to the abortion debate, illogic is nothing new. Those who believe that the termination of an unwanted pregnancy is the taking of a human life should be striving to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Instead, they are stopping at nothing to deny women access to contraception. The House of Representatives, cheered on by "anti-abortion" activists, wants to eliminate all funding for Title X, the federal program of assistance supporting family clinics providing contraceptive services. Not content to eliminate funding for the contraceptive services provided by Planned Parenthood, several states, led by New Jersey and Texas, have slashed or eliminated all funding for family planning clinics.

The evidence, of course, is abundantly clear: Cuts in funding for contraception lead to more unwanted pregnancies...and more abortions. The Guttmacher Institute reports that:

"The contraceptive services and supplies provided at family planning centers that receive Title X funding helped women prevent one million unintended pregnancies in 2013; of those, 501,000 would have resulted in unplanned births and 345,000 in abortion. Without the contraceptive care provided by these safety-net centers, unintended pregnancy, abortion, and teen pregnancy would be 30 percent higher."

But in the new wonderland that is American politics, contraception is an evil to be combatted, and it is, therefore, an affront to religious liberty to require employers to include coverage for contraception as part of the insurance they provide their employees. In the immortal words of presidential aspirant Rick Santorum, we should be forever mindful of the "dangers of contraception."

When logic is turned on its head, Dr. Ben Carson, who once performed research using fetal tissue, is free to condemn Planned Parenthood for providing fetal tissue to researchers, and Rev. Huckabee can claim that he has never heard of anyone in the "pro-life" movement condoning attacks on abortion providers.

Hypocrisy, illogic and denial are nothing new to American politics, particularly when it comes to contraception and abortion, but the bar keeps dropping. It has now fallen down the rabbit hole.