As the right-wing smear campaign against Planned Parenthood winds down, the damage dealt is beginning to show. Four Planned Parenthood clinics have burst into flames under mysterious circumstances in the past seventy-four days — and there is very little media coverage on what should be recognized as terrorist attacks by religious fundamentalists.
On Wednesday, October 7th, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Thousand Oaks, California, was firebombed — the latest attack on clinics affiliated with the beloved healthcare provider. A clinic in Aurora, Illinois, was burned on July 19th. Another in Pullman, Washington, was put to the flame on August 22nd. Right-wing terrorists attempted to torch a clinic under construction in New Orleans on August 3rd, but they only succeeded in destroying a vehicle.
All of these attacks occurred after the anti-abortion group posing as a biomedical firm, the “Center for Medical Progress” released their first heavily doctored and misleading videos on July 14th. Since then, the far right-wing has concentrated their efforts on taking down Planned Parenthood over false allegations and a persistent commitment to an entirely delusional narrative, which accused Planned Parenthood of selling fetal tissue for profit (they don’t) and focused on taking away their federal funding over abortions (no federal money is used for abortion services).
The mainstream media has been silent on these terrorist attacks as they’ve occurred. A MediaMatters analysis “of prime-time cable news coverage, including Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN transcripts, found that cable news dedicated almost no prime-time coverage to the arsons from July 19 through October 5.Of all three networks, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was the only prime-time host to cover the arsons, in a September 8 segment.” Corporate America has been complicit in these attacks, refusing to stand up for the rights of American women to make their own reproductive choices and the persistent erosion of their access to reproductive healthcare.
While countless investigations by both states and Congress have found no wrongdoing, it’s clear that the damage has been done. With such outlandish and grotesque falsehoods being constantly repeated by social conservatives across the country, it’s no surprise that radicals refusing to listen to reason or facts have begun acting out and committing these reprehensible crimes. It is of vital importance that the American people understand the threat to one of our nation’s most vital healthcare providers and begin taking steps to defend them against the wave of zealous fury that lurks in the shadows.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.