Anti-abortion groups condemn Planned Parenthood shooting


by Steve Rabey

For the past five years, Catholic priest Bill Carmody led a weekly Mass in the parking lot of the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility where a gunman killed three people last Friday (Nov. 27).

In fact, Carmody had been in the parking lot with a handful of protesters that very morning, and he learned about the shooting after he’d left, when people texted him to make sure he was not hurt.

“I am absolutely heartbroken about this,” he said on Monday. “I’m against all violence, and whether you’re in the womb or outside the womb, killing’s wrong.”

Carmody heads the local chapter of Respect Life, one of many anti-abortion groups that have organized daily protests outside Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, which relocated to a high security facility in 2010.

Police have not commented on the gunman’s motive. But when he surrendered he reportedly talked about “no more body parts,” a possible reference to undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials allegedly offering to sell the remains of aborted fetuses.

The suspect, who lived 65 miles away in a ramshackle shelter near the small mountain town of Hartsel, was known for keeping to himself, having run-ins with neighbors and the law, and handing out anti-Obama brochures.

Carmody, who has been with Respect Life for 25 years, said the suspect was not affiliated with it, and he drew a clear distinction with other types of protestors he has seen outside the clinic “who promoted hate, not love.” He said his group, which is sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will resume its weekly Masses at the clinic as soon as police conclude their investigation.

Colorado Springs, once described as the ground zero of the anti-gay rights movement, has been called “the Vatican of evangelical Christianity.” It is the headquarters of dozens of evangelical ministries.

And while some anti-abortion activists around the country have been known to equate abortion with mass murder – even comparing it to the Holocaust – many anti-abortion groups condemned Friday’s shooting.

Focus on the Family, the most prominent anti-abortion group headquartered locally, condemned the attack. Its president called it “tragic and deplorable.”

“It has always been our philosophy to condemn violence and to treat people with respect, including those who disagree with you.” Said Carrie Gordon Earll, the group’s vice president of public policy.

While she said Focus’s employees and associates may participate in anti-abortion protests, its main goal is getting pro-life legislation passed, including laws that eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.

“We help people with pro-life convictions to be good citizens, and to influence passage of pro-life measures, whether through state legislatures, or Congress, or ballot issues,” Gorden Earll said.

The Planned Parenthood tragedy was the second mass shooting in a month for Colorado Springs, a city that experienced wrenching culture wars in the 1990s over gay rights.

The three victims of the Planned Parenthood shooting include one veteran of the Iraq war and the wife of another veteran, and an elder from Hope Chapel, an evangelical congregation.

Garrett Swasey, a police officer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, rushed to the scene when Springs police issued a call for back-up and was killed.

At Hope Chapel on Sunday, the stool where Swasey sat to play guitar with the church’s praise band remained empty. The church’s co-pastor requested prayer for Swasey’s wife and two children, as well as the gunman, according to The Gazette newspaper.

(Steve Rabey is a contributor to RNS)

Religion News Service

RNS is owned by Religion News LLC, a non-profit, limited liability corporation based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Its mission is to provide in-depth, non-sectarian coverage of religion, spirituality and ideas.

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8 Comments on "Anti-abortion groups condemn Planned Parenthood shooting"

The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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Terrorism? Confusing. When Dr. Hasan killed men and women at Ft. Hood while shouting “Allahu Akbar!”… the executive of the current administration styled it as workplace violence. Using exactly the same reasoning, how is the Planned Parenthood incident more than a common crime? Also… one of the persons killed by Dr. Hasan was a pregnant woman. He was charged with her murder. He was not charged with the murder of her child. Oddly, had he been involved in a accident with this woman that resulted in her death and the death of her child, Dr. Hasan would have been charged… Read more »
Wes Andrews

The criminal who did this was not acting as a “Christian.” He was not acting as a “pro-life” individual. By every measure he was mentally unstable. Exploitation of this by progressives is shameful.

George Nixon Shuler

Plausible deniability. Right-wing groups like focus on the Family which demand government dominion over women’s bodies, commit stochastic terrorism by inciting such lone nuts purposefully and with calculation. They did the same with Dr. George Tiller. The fiction a fetus is a person is a lie they invented out of thin air to advocate for power and control over the female body. Results like this were not only expected but desired by the extremists which seek power and control over women.

I think you’ve confused the words dominion and domination, which have little in common with each other except some shared letter sequences. It is statists of the left and the right who seek government domination of everything. Christians, however, know they are subject to another realm, for God is sovereign over all creation and has granted dominion (responsible stewardship) to humanity over that. The lie is that each human being is sovereign over his or her own body. Our bodies belong to God and God alone. God lovingly and carefully knit each of us together in our mothers’ wombs. As… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler

St. Augustine believed the soul entered a male fetus after 40 days and a female after 80 days. Regardless of the offender’s history he was swayed by Faux News’ lying reports about PP affiliates selling tissue.

Let’s assume for a moment that Augustine is correct and male and female preborn children are given souls at 40 and 80 days, respectively. What then, in your view, is still lacking in them after ensoulment such that they are not yet persons? By the way, Augustine worked from the best scientific knowledge of his day, distinguishing between a “vivified” and ” “pre-vivified” faetus based on “human formation” (the moment the preborn took on physical “human form.” Augustine was also a vigorous opponent of induced abortion. Nonetheless, modern science informs us that preborn humans are human beings and not ducks… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
My friend, in the million plus years of human habitation never in our jurisprudence has a fetus ever had legal status as a “person” and never should it. As far as “ensoulment,” if there even is such a thing, I leave that to the navel-gazers who choose to contemplate it, since I have no interest in it at all. I merely mentioned it to provide an example of the absurdity of silly assertions like his and yours. As to your comments about the discredited PP videos, I reject your premises that they have any validity whatsoever. Those who made them,… Read more »
Never has a fetus had legal standing as a person? Although early-term abortion has been legally protected since Roe v Wade, you may not be aware that 38 states at last count have enacted some form of fetal homicide laws. Murder, manslaughter, homicide, violent offence against youth—these are some of the terms used in these statutes for actions against the preborn. Ohio’s definition of a “person” includes “unborn member of the species Homo sapiens, who is or was carried in the womb of another.” Louisiana defines “person” as a human being from the moment of fertilization and implantation. Massachusetts case… Read more »
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