To commemorate the people who died in the shooting that took place at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, (PPRM) the Planned Parenthood of Montana hosted a vigil. As one man who attended mentioned, we need to not only grieve for the victims of the violence, but also, we need to take action in the political process, to ensure human rights for bodily autonomy are not threatened. Only some twenty people turned out on the blistering-cold Montana night, but I know so many more who were there in spirit. I was glad to be a part of this vigil.
When I heard the news about the Planned Parenthood shooting, my heart plummeted. My heart goes out to all the victims in this horrific act of violence. A pro-lifer killing people. I can’t believe we are fighting this battle still and that a man took it this far as to commit a shooting. I saw an article about anti-abortion people actually praising the shooter who committed this act of violence, where it had a picture of a man’s Twitter account that read, “No sympathy for any pregnant female who was injured in the Planned Parenthood shooting that was there to get an abortion. She deserved it.” It is this blind hatred that astounds me: The idea that people who are so-called “pro-life” don’t value the life of the currently living, breathing woman at all, only the potential fetus inside her. So the pregnant, currently living human being doesn’t matter, just the potential fetus inside her. Got it.
I cannot believe it has come to this: A shooting at Planned Parenthood. Although it is rare to have a shooting at an abortion clinic, attacks on clinics are not: Since 1997, there have been 73 devastating attacks on clinics. But let’s think about all of this for a second: This was an act of domestic terrorism, geared towards women. And as Unitewomen.org pointed out, “[The shooter] told police ‘no more baby parts’ and distributed anti-Obama pamphlets to neighbors. Will the makers of the fake videos, and the politicians and media who publicized the fake videos be tried as an accomplice for the murder of a cop and 2 civilians?”
Plus, as countless people have pointed out, including myself, only 3% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion. The other 97% of what they do is cancer screenings for women and men, testing for STDs, women’s health services including pap smears and annual exams, and access to contraception for women and men to prevent unwanted pregnancies that could result in abortion.
The thing about abortion is that it could become pretty much obsolete if we had comprehensive sex education and family planning in place for people who want it, something anti-abortion people are famously and ironically against. The data clearly shows sex ed reduces unintended pregnancy. That’s the crazy part about all this: If youngsters and adult sexual partners had the information to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy through comprehensive sex education and family planning strategies, then abortion would be nearly non-existent. Abortion needs to remain a safety net for those times of rape, incest, protecting the life of the girl/woman and for times when accidents happen, but abortion doesn’t need to be so prominent. If we had measures in place that secured a sexually-educated society that was able to prevent unwanted pregnancy in the first place, people on both sides, pro-choice and ‘pro-life’ would be a lot happier. We need to start talking about this and making it happen because,
“Each one of us has indispensable human rights—rights that underpin our ability to live with dignity, to enjoy full and equal citizenship, to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Simply put, reproductive freedom lies at the heart of the promise of human dignity, self-determination, and equality.” (CRR)