Linda Gray, a Republican state senator from Arizona, claimed over the weekend that abortion rights preserved by Roe v. Wade were more of a contributing factor to the shooting in Tucson earlier this month than the state's gun-control laws.
Asked Sunday on George Washington University Radio's "Political Pulse" what "we can do and people can do and lawmakers can do to prevent something like this from happening, if the answer is not stricter gun control laws," Gray seemed to suggest that legalized abortions had caused the general degradation of "respect" for life.
"Training of people to respect human life," Gray replied. "It is ironic that today is the day 38 years ago that the Supreme Court said we do not have to respect the life of an unborn, and we have gone through now more than a generation of people, a large number of people who believe that it is fine to take an infant prior to it being born and to kill it. What type of respect is that for human life?"
Gray argued that acceptance of a woman's right to choose had led the generation of alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner to hold the lives of others in disregard or even contempt.
"So now we have this generation of people who have that idea and it continues on, that why respect life if we can kill an infant who can't defend themselves," Gray said. "It goes back to the value in the creation of life and the respect for that life, and if you're not trained and have that type of character in realizing that all human life deserves respect, this is what our country has come to."
Interviewer Andrew Feldman then questioned Gray more directly, according to Politico's Ben Smith, who caught the comments.
"So you think that it is a cultural issue that is leading our youth into delinquency and into committing acts like this, you think it is a cultural issue here in America?" Feldman asked.
"Yes, I believe part of it is a cultural issue in the disrespect for human life," Gray answered.