Littwin: On apologists for the Planned Parenthood shooting

And so it has come to this: Adams County state Rep. JoAnn Windholz has decided that Planned Parenthood is the “real culprit” in the Colorado Springs attack and not, apparently, the actual killer.

She not only said it, but happily she wrote it down for all to see. That means she can never say she was misquoted — just horribly misguided.

Now you know why so many Republicans aren’t saying anything — or anything much – about the attack on Planned Parenthood. When you’ve spent months demonizing the people working there as murderers and Nazis and worse, it must become difficult to make yourself say anything else.

And yet it was only a matter of time before some politician would be unable to help him/herself and offer up something really objectionable. But this objectionable?

Windholz, a real-life state legislator, made the classic no-excuse-but argument, in which she writes, in a statement sent to Colorado Independent reporter Marianne Goodland, that “Violence is never the answer, but …”

In this case, the “but” is that “violence begets violence” and that Planned Parenthood’s so-called violence, also known as women’s health resources, must be the reason that Robert Dear killed three innocent people — a cop, a war veteran, a mother of two — who had nothing to do with either violence or providing women’s health resources.

Here’s the money shot from Windholz: “Violence is never the answer, but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit. The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any Planned Parenthood facility is Planned Parenthood themselves. Violence begets violence. So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS.”

Windholz added, for good measure, that the “abortion industry” — just asking, but do we have a cancer industry? — “would easily send anyone over the hill who wasn’t rational.”

We can argue all we like about whether that means Windholz has gone over the hill or maybe a nearby mountain, but here’s what we do know: In her statement, she never mentioned the victims or their families or the children left behind or the violence done to the city of Colorado Springs or, well, you should read the statement in its entirety to appreciate just how ugly it is.

What she did say was that Planned Parenthood was selling “baby body parts,” which is reportedly very close to what the actual killer told police after he was arrested and which is wrong in both instances. Both statements go back to the highly edited sting videos, which 11 states have so far investigated. Seven have reached the same conclusion — that Planned Parenthood was not selling fetal tissue or so-called baby body parts. The other four states are still studying.

It must be added here, too, that fetal tissue is used in scientific research that saves lives. And that fetal tissue research was approved by Congress in a bipartisan vote. And that, in any case, it’s not really arguable that whatever your thoughts are on fetal tissue research or abortion, they’re not an excuse to murder anyone.

Sadly, it isn’t just Windholz who seems not to understand that concept. The Douglas County GOP has apparently retweeted an opinion piece headlined “Abortionists and Planned Parenthood Shooter Are Just Two Sides of the Same Coin.” I wonder if the families of the dead and those who were injured see it that way.

The arguments on abortion are, of course, longstanding. Sincere people stand on both sides. But while we’re having the argument about whether overheated rhetoric can lead to violence — interestingly, it wasn’t long ago that Black Lives Matter rhetoric was somehow being blamed in the death of a cop — you have people like Windholz making another case: that overheated rhetoric can offer real insight into the overheated talker.

Most of the many Republicans running for president have been remarkably circumspect, understanding that the best political move at this point is to change the subject. No one has done this more convincingly than Ted Cruz, who, though a leader in slamming Planned Parenthood, did have the decency to blame the actual killer for the killings. Then, turning tragedy to farce, Cruz suggested that Dear (whose Colorado voter registration mistakenly lists him as a female) might well be a “transgendered leftist activist” for all he knew.

It’s easy to see why changing the subject would be a good idea. As we learn more about Dear’s life, beyond the fact of a life lived off the grid, it has become increasingly apparent that he didn’t simply stop by a Planned Parenthood clinic on the way to a murder spree. He had often been accused in violent episodes, including by two of his three ex-wives, and, in another case, where he was arrested for rape and assault.

And apparently he didn’t need to hear heated talk from anyone to act. The New York Times quotes a longtime friend saying that Dear has long been strongly antiabortion and that he had called members of the violently antiabortion, so-called Army of God “heroes.” These were people who took credit for bombing abortion clinics.

In other words, Dear fit a certain profile, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, even though it apparently doesn’t bother JoAnn Windholz, who can understand why someone like Dear, a mass murderer, was sent over the hill. If it’s me, I’d understand if Adams County voters sent someone like Windholz out of office.

Photo credit: DonkeyHotey, Creative Commons, Flickr


  1. Personally, I like my murder apologetics a little less ham-fisted, but hey, kudos to Rep. Windholz for shining such a bright light on this particular brand of odious lunacy.

  2. Pre-viability, the question of abortion is a First Amendment issue. The only argument anti-abortion partisans have is that pre-viable human (for what else could it be?) tissue/fetuses have something ineffable that must, at all costs, be preserved.

    Issues about fetal pain also founder (at least) in pre-viability arguments. Humans constantly inflict pain on sentient creatures with far more ability to feel and comprehend that pain than a pre-viable fetus, with no questions asked.

    And how many humans have any recollection of any kind, of pre-birth existence? Those who claim to have such memories are, according to the science, simply wrong.

    The idea of a “soul” or “spirit” infuses almost all anti-abortionists’ arguments (not to mention ill-considered sentimentality); indeed, not all religions bar abortion, based on some of the ideas above.

    Abortion is a religious issue. When people like Windholz yammer about murder and Nazis, that’s what’s really propelling them.

  3. why is the “heavily edited” narrative repeated even though the unedited videos were released? Do they sell parts or not?

  4. since many of the unedited versions of the videos have been released, why does this narrative persist? Either they sold parts or not. I don’t think they have denied that. Their answer seems to be that they sold parts legally.

  5. the leading spox for the Right wing christian terrorists…no mercy, no compassion…the gop are the very image, they project…

  6. again, the point is that the videos do show something that pp has not denied, that they sell parts. They have not denied this, giving the answer that it is legal to do so. This article seems to live in denial or ignorance of that fact.

    I do not advocate returning violence for violence by individuals. I do wish however that both the state and the individuals would recognized that abortion does do violence to both unborn humans as well as their parents.

  7. John, the quote you present from the article is in reference to the initial release of the videos, with breaks removed. Unedited versions of the video’s, or at least some of them have been released. The evidentiary value of the unedited video’s is not discussed in the article you reference, an article published by a source that is just as balanced as this site. PP, I repeat, has not denied selling tissue. My point stands.

  8. The column’s headline reads “apologists”(plural) yet Mr. Littwin names only one:Adams County state Rep. JoAnn Windholz.

    Are there more he isn’t talking about or is Rep. Windholz the sole apologist?

    Of course, Mr. Littwin doesn’t actually need more politicians to speak aloud about the tragic shootings at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic since, apparently, he already knows what Republicans are thinking:

    “Now you know why so many Republicans aren’t saying anything — or anything much – about the attack on Planned Parenthood. When you’ve spent months demonizing the people working there as murderers and Nazis and worse, it must become difficult to make yourself say anything else.”

    Hmm, I wonder if he can do that with Democrats?

    You have to understand Mr. Littwin’s frustration: He’s written three columns in five days about the Planned Parenthood clinic shootings and he has nothing to show for it except a statement from a Colorado politician who many Coloradans have never heard of.

    He’s tried desperately and unsuccessfully to hold Republican rhetoric to blame but seemingly has given up on that after admitting “apparently (Dear) didn’t need to hear heated talk from anyone to act”.

    So where does poor Mr. Littwin go from here?

    It appears he’s going scalp hunting, “If it’s me, I’d understand if Adams County voters sent someone like Windholz out of office.”

    And isn’t that what any mature, embarrassed journalist would do?


    Courage enlarges, cowardice diminishes resources. In desperate straits the fears of the timid aggravate the dangers that imperil the brave. – Christian Nestell Bovee

    “President Francois Hollande deemed the shootings and bombings “an act of war.” He said early Saturday, “We will lead the fight, and we will be ruthless.”
    ‘France is at war,’ Hollande says” – CNN

    “On Sept. 6, 2012, Obama boasted at the Democratic National Convention that “al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat.”
    Five days later, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists attacked two U.S. diplomatic compounds in Benghazi, Libya, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

    “On Jan. 7, 2014, Obama dismissed the Islamic State as the “JV” team in an interview with the New Yorker, adding that the rise of the Islamic State was not “a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.” That same month, the Islamic State began its march on Iraq, declaring a caliphate, burning people alive in cages and beheading Americans.

    Then on Thursday, Obama did it again, telling ABC News, “I don’t think [the Islamic State is] gaining strength” and promising “we have contained them.” The very next day, the Islamic State launched the worst attack on Paris since World War II, killing at least 132 people and wounding more than 350 others.

    How many times is this sad spectacle going to repeat itself?” – Marc A. Thiessen Washington Post

    “Democrats who debated in Iowa last night were very, very concerned about the Paris terror attacks and the growing evidence that ISIS—or Da’esh, as it is called in the region—has metastasized into a true global threat. Very concerned. Bernie Sanders even thought that this barbaric challenge to civilization should be “eliminated”…although it was not as great a threat as global warming, he allowed, which—hold on, here—causes terrorism. You know, droughts and floods set people in motion and…well, never mind.

    Indeed, political correctness makes it impossible for Democrats to face, head on, by name, the essential problem: the rise of Islamic radicalism—or jihadi-ism, as Hillary Clinton tried to call it (and almost succeeded). This is not just a word game.” – Joe Klein Time

    “The irony of those (Democrats) unwilling to call the threat of radical Islam by its name is that in endeavoring to be intelligent and understanding, in trying to avoid painting with “too broad a brush,” they are in reality betraying their ignorance or inability to grapple with the true nature of today’s foe

    Our leaders do us no service when they fail to recognize that the threat the so-called Islamic State and its allied terrorists represent is a civilizational not a geopolitical conflict, and can only be understood through that lens. The radicals who perpetrated the Charlie Hebdo attack were not motivated by Western Imperialism, but by members of a free society violating Islamic law.” – Daily Beast

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Memorial Day – May 30, 2016

  9. charlie cheng, your point does not stand. Planned Parenthood has not sold fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has, previously, but no longer, been reimbursed for the costs involved in facilitating the transportation of fetal tissue to research sites, according to the federal law which authorized fetal tissue research.

    I guess Republicans are unable to grasp the distinction between reimbursement for storage and transportation costs of an item and reimbursement for the item itself that is being transported.

    Rabid anti-abortionists are domestic terrorists; whose so-called “respect for life”, i.e. fetal tissue that is not a person, but has the potential to develop into a person; leads them to kill people.

    People who have open minds ought to read this article: “Is Heaven Populated Chiefly by the Souls of Embryos?”.

    Here is a paragraph from the article:
    ‘”If the embryo loss that accompanies natural procreation were the moral equivalent of infant death, then pregnancy would have to be regarded as a public health crisis of epidemic proportions: Alleviating natural embryo loss would be a more urgent moral cause than abortion, in vitro fertilization, and stem-cell research combined,” declared Michael Sandel, a Harvard University government professor, also a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics.’

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