Several weeks ago Robert Dear attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. Three people were shot to death, including a police officer, and nine other people were injured. From all the stories, he appears to have been a very troubled, disturbed individual. According to Planned Parenthood, he had expressed his hostility to abortion and to Planned Parenthood in particular..
What is known is that Planned Parenthood was targeted by four arson attacks in the last few months alone, and between 1977 and 2012 there were 6,550 violent attacks against abortion clinics in the US and Canada, including murder, arson and death threats.
Contrary to the pro-life rhetoric, most of Planned Parenthood's work has little to do with abortion, dealing more frequently with women who require basic help with female health issues. The agency offers a wide spectrum of assistance and referrals, of which abortion may be one alternative after extensive counselling. Abortion is never the first option, however it does remain an option. I've always found it unfortunate that pro-life advocates are often the ones who are opposed to any form of medical care, daycare, or housing subsidies, imposing their anti-abortion views on women and leaving them to live their lives in poverty.
Nobody wants to see an abortion, but most people understand the need for choice.. If we really wanted to reduce abortion rates without going back to coat hanger abortions in a back alley, we would strive towards universal access to contraceptives, modern sex education in the schools, empowering women with employment, housing, and daycare options, and reducing poverty. If a woman had these resources, she would face a less bleak future and may choose to keep a child. In short, the answers are more complex than just being pro-choice of pro-life. It's about giving a woman hope to raise a child in a positive future.
The leading groups who oppose abortion simply want to criminalize the act of abortion and shut own clinics, while also opposing contraception and sex education (except preaching abstinence).
The other problem is the incendiary language used by anti-abortion groups. I was describing recently in a thread the increasing usage of graphic images of bloody, aborted foetuses, and language with terminology of 'baby killers' or comparing an abortion clinic to Auschwitz. There are others such as 'baby slaughter' 'genocide, and ironically 'mass murder.'
My own view is that we need to turn down the volume on the histrionics and the rhetoric. The pro-life lobby needs to look at the long term welfare of the foetus after it leaves the womb, and to show compassion to the mother by advocating for resources to ensure a sustainable life, rather than just abandon her after coercing her into keeping the child. Otherwise, this violence will simply continue.