A 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic that killed three people prompted a conservative response by Matt Walsh (part 1). Walsh denied that pro-life vitriol could’ve played a role in motivating the shooter while reserving the right to trowel on large amounts of that same vitriol.
His denial of responsibility failed.
Walsh admitted that the shooter’s actions were bad, but. He couldn’t ignore a grandstanding opportunity to argue the other side of the issue, that the shooter’s target—the abortion providers—are the worst possible people.
George Tiller, the heinous late-term baby executioner who ruthlessly slaughtered thousands of viable and fully developed infants, is the only abortion worker to be killed by an abortion opponent this century. That’s it. One. And he was one of the most dangerous, vicious, and murderous human beings to have ever lived.
You make it sound like working at a Planned Parenthood clinic is no more risky than being a librarian. Not so: there have been 11 murders and 26 attempted murders on U.S. abortion clinic workers. There have been 42 bombings, 188 arsons, and an additional 100 attempts at bombing or arson. And there’s more: vandalism, acid attacks, bioterrorism threats, assault and battery, death threats, kidnapping, burglary, stalking, and more—over 10,000 incidents in all.
Go research why women went to Tiller to get abortions. Was it because they didn’t want to be so fat? Or was it a more substantial reason—birth defects, mother’s health, catastrophic changes in financial status, or something similar?
And let’s pause to listen to your rhetoric. Was Tiller seriously “one of the most dangerous, vicious, and murderous human beings to have ever lived”? Few of us would morally object to going back in time to assassinate Joseph Mengele or Heinrich Himmler or Adolph Hitler. You’ve intentionally put Tiller with this company, so why then do you object to the shooter’s actions?
This hypocrisy is the problem that Walsh can’t acknowledge. He wants to say that the shooter was a killer and Planned Parenthood kills, so they’re in the same boat. But not him—he’s cut from different cloth because he’s pro-life.
But the rage he reveals in this article gives just as strong an argument for a very different arrangement of these three parties: now it’s the killer with Walsh in the same boat because of his venomous rhetoric that could easily provoke violent action. Planned Parenthood is the odd man out because it provides legal abortions before the fetus is a person.
As the article progresses, Walsh is on a roll, and the indignant “Of course we deplore violence—we’re pro-life!” attitude is gone. With no ear for irony, he repeats the line the killer is said to have used:
Planned Parenthood sells the parts of dead babies.
Wrong again. Selling body parts is illegal, and Planned Parenthood doesn’t do that. The mother can choose to donate the fetus for research, and Planned Parenthood can be reimbursed for their costs.
Planned Parenthood is a rotten, corrupt, depraved, vile, disgusting, brutal, murderous conglomerate of butchers and mercenaries.
And yet you wonder how anyone could possibly be incited to violence?
Abortion fanatics hate pro-lifers personally. They hate Christianity. They hate children. They hate life itself. Theirs is the sort of hatred that destroys the soul and dissolves the human conscience. We hate what is evil; they hate what is good.
And now it’s just a rant. This kind of rhetoric is what drove the shooter to kill.
Why don’t you [Planned Parenthood] just shut up and work on not killing babies?
And what are you doing, Matt Walsh? Are you focusing on reducing the cause of abortions, unwanted pregnancies?
Among countries in the West, the U.S. compares poorly. In the United States, the annual pregnancy rate was 57 per 1000 women aged 15–19. This was, by far, the highest rate in the 21 countries studied. Compare this to 8 in Switzerland. What are we doing wrong (or what is Switzerland doing right)? There is ample room for improvement.Is it better sex education? Is it easier and subsidized access to contraception? Whatever it is, cutting the number of abortions by as much as 90 percent simply through honest and open discussion by parents and more effective education and policy by society seems possible. Why are you approaching it the hard way? Instead of swimming upstream, you could work with pro-choice people who want the same thing. It almost sounds like you’re not really serious about this, and abortion isn’t the holocaust you claim it to be.
More to the point, making it “illegal” isn’t the way to do it. The abortion rate was more than twice as high as the current rate in the U.S. before Roe v. Wade made it legal nationwide, and safe and effective abortion by medicine would make it easy to skirt a ban.
The trolley problem
Almost everyone has heard of this thought experiment, but here’s a brief summary. Imagine a trolley that’s heading toward five unsuspecting workers on the track. If it continues, it will kill them all. But there’s a switch, and you can reroute the trolley down another path with only one worker. Would you switch the trolley?
Most people say they would. But what if you’ve got the same trolley heading for the five workers, and you’re on a bridge over the tracks. The only way to stop the trolley is with a large weight in its path. You’re not heavy enough to stop it, but there’s a large man on the bridge who is. Do you push him over?
Most people say they wouldn’t, but it’s the same calculation, five deaths vs. one.
The Planned Parenthood shooter in effect pushed the large man over. He’s taken the unthinkable but logical step—logical given Walsh’s own analysis. Walsh is left fuming about decorum—it’s one thing to label abortion providers as the most wicked scum on the earth, but in polite society one doesn’t actually act on this! He wants his rage but won’t accept the consequences.
Additional pro-choice resources:
- When Abortion is Illegal in America
- Pro-Life Advocates Running from the Consequences of their Actions
- Do Pro-Life Advocates Want to Reduce Abortion? Sure Doesn’t Look Like It.
- Roe Is a Mirage: Conservatives Wrongly Think No Roe Means No Abortion
- 20 Arguments Against Abortion, Rebutted
- “I Do Abortions Because I Am a Christian”
- A Defense of Abortion Rights: The Spectrum Argument
- Unraveling Bad Pro-Life Thinking
can be very dangerous.
I think candidates need to step back,
take a deep breath, and understand . . .
we have a responsibility to use
thoughtful and careful language.
— Wendy Davis, the former Texas state senator
who filibustered to block legislation
that would restrict abortion
(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 12/4/15.)
Image from Kit Clutch, CC license