The man suspected of killing three people and injuring nine others at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood location allegedly said, "No more baby parts," as he was being arrested, leading some observers to say that the attack was a politically motivated act of domestic terrorism.
Two anonymous law enforcement sources told NBC News that the suspect, Robert Lewis Dear, made the "baby parts" comment along with numerous other "rantings" after he was taken into custody. A law enforcement source told the same thing to the Associated Press.
"Baby parts" is probably a reference to this summer's anti–Planned Parenthood videos
In July the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a group run by anti-abortion activists, released a series of videos accusing Planned Parenthood of "selling baby parts," by which they meant illegally selling fetal tissue to researchers for a profit. CMP started the hashtag #PPSellsBabyParts to promote its videos and spread public outrage over its claims.
Numerous state and federal investigations have found no evidence that what CMP said was true. The videos were deceptively edited and left out numerous instances when Planned Parenthood employees said, contrary to CMP's claims, that fetal tissue research shouldn't be a revenue stream or a profit maker.
That hasn't stopped anti-abortion activists, or many Republican lawmakers, from continuing to talk about "baby parts" and call for Planned Parenthood to be defunded. The term was routine even among high-ranking Republicans like former Speaker of the House John Boehner. "Recent videos exposing the abortion-for-baby parts business have shocked the nation," Boehner said when he announced the creation of a select House committee to investigate the issue. Outspoken anti-abortion lawmakers like Trent Franks (R-AZ) used the term "baby parts" in press releases, and the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), used it in his opening statement when the committee held a hearing on the issue called "Planned Parenthood Exposed."
Pro-choice advocates blame the shootings on harsh anti-abortion rhetoric
Law enforcement sources stressed to NBC that Dear said a lot of things, including remarks about President Obama, so it's still too early to say what his motivation for the shooting really was. But Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, said the remark shows that the attack was "motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion."
"This is an appalling act of violence targeting access to health care and terrorizing skilled and dedicated health care professionals," Cowart said in a statement.
NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue wrote a Facebook post on Saturday night that blamed CMP's David Daleiden, as well as CMP board member and Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, for stoking violent anti-abortion sentiment with their rhetoric:
Hogue and other pro-choice advocates say that violence against abortion clinics should be labeled and investigated as domestic terrorism. The mayor of Colorado Springs appears to agree that this incident counts as domestic terrorism.
While many GOP presidential candidates still haven't mentioned the attacks (or haven't mentioned Planned Parenthood when they do), Mike Huckabee called the attacks "domestic terrorism":
The Colorado Springs tragedy is domestic terrorism, especially for those us in the pro-life movement.— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) November 29, 2015