Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the Planned Parenthood shooting “a crime against women” in a statement released on Saturday. Indeed despite Republicans’ attempts to distract from their own guilt for the attack by claiming that we don’t know the shooter’s motives or even shifting blame to the left, it is in fact quite clear that Robert L. Dear was a conservative motivated by Republicans’ slanderous lies about Planned Parenthood to attack the clinic. And, moreover, the terror attack wasn’t Dear’s first crime against women, as he has previously been accused of domestic violence.
Lynch is perfectly right to call the attack a crime against women, as it is an assault on the basic rights of women to receive healthcare and make decisions about their own life and body. We need to understand that just as much as a jihadi terrorist attack – which is the only kind of terror attack that the xenophobic Republicans are willing to call by its name – is an “attack on our freedom,” this domestic terrorist attack is an attack on the freedom of America’s women, driven by the hateful, sexist, ignorant rhetoric of the Republican Party just as jihadi attacks are driven by the hateful, racist, ignorant rhetoric of fundamentalist Islamist leaders.
Planned Parenthood has already condemned the “hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns” that have made people “think it’s okay to target us.” And of course, the source of these vitriolic lies is the demagogues of the Republican Party. Republican leaders, who by their very silence in the wake of the attack have displayed their callous disregard for the lives of the American people and the consequences of the bile they preach, need to understand that hateful rhetoric has consequences. From attacks on Muslims to shootings at Black Lives Matter protests, hateful Republican rhetoric leads to terror, and this was once again tragically demonstrated last week in the Colorado Springs attack that, as Lynch said, represents a crime against the freedom of all women.
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.