Monday, April 2, 2012

Still See No "War on Women"?

Last night's bombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic near Green Bay, Wisconsin, was tragic... But sadly, it really wasn't that shocking. While the federal Department of Justice is only beginning to investigate this brutal crime and we don't yet know who was behind this attack, it certainly didn't help that this has been front and center for the last two months... And to a certain extent, for the last year.

As we discussed late last month, Planned Parenthood has been wrongly and unfairly demonized by the radical "tea party" right. Less than 3% of Planned Parenthood's budget goes to abortion services, NONE of the federal funding going to Planned Parenthood is used for abortion services, and Planned Parenthood is often the only available health care provider (offering everything from mammograms to prostate exams, and so much more) for low-income women AND MEN in communities throughout the country.

However, we don't hear this from the G-O-TEA politicians out to restrict access to health care in this country. And sadly, we don't even hear this from many in the media who are supposed to be reporting all the facts. Instead, we've heard all kinds of partisan spin and "fair & balanced" nonsense.

Again, we don't have all the facts yet, so we can't make any conclusions on what exactly caused this. Still, we can't ignore the evidence all around us.

The clinic, one of very few in the the state that provides abortions, has been a constant target of anti-choice activists, from Lila Rose attempted "undercover video 'stings'" to Pro-Life Wisconsin's "Empty Manger Christmas carols" and other stunts. With the amount of attention being put on the clinic, and the escalating frenzy to try and block a woman's right to abortion, it was likely only a matter of time before a violent act happened there.

The incident also points to a disturbing and increasing trend of clinic violence. This would be the fourth case of incendiary devices being used as a weapon against clinics and supporters in the last eight months. Last August, a suspect firebombed a clinic in McKinney, Texas. On New Year's Day, a clinic in Florida was firebombed in the early morning hours by a homeless man believed to be sympathetic to the anti-choice protesters who frequented the health center. And just last month, a Texas state senator known for her Planned Parenthood advocacy had her office in Fort Worth firebombed during working hours while the office was full.

I'm sure it won't be long before the same G-O-TEA politicians who provoked all this anti-choice, anti-Planned Parenthood, anti-woman fervor start crying foul over being blamed for this and other abortion clinic bombings. And no one is accusing them of plotting this terrorist act. However, they need to realize that words and actions have consequences. All their irrational and extreme rhetoric against Planned Parenthood and the women who support their mission seems to be encouraging fringe extremists to run wild on that rhetoric and commit these heinous crimes.

If the likes of Dean Heller and Joe Heck still don't understand their actions have frightening consequences for Nevada's women, they should now. It's bad enough that their legislative action has resulted in pointless political games that threaten numerous Nevada women by threatening the health care they need. And I'm sure they're irritated over the political consequences their party is paying for engaging in this War on Women. But now, we're seeing that something far more sinister has emerged from this fiasco. It's really long past time to end the War on Women and stop the extreme rhetoric.

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