Anti-Planned Parenthood rhetoric feeding hate

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, our nation was struck by yet another avoidable tragedy when a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado – killing a mother, a veteran and a police officer while injuring nine. In total, there have been 8 murders, 42 bombings, 186 arsons and thousands of attacks at Planned Parenthood facilities.

At a time when we should be mourning those lost, some abortion critics have used this occurrence to continue to demonize the organization. Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger did an interview with CNN attacking Planned Parenthood while the domestic terrorist who took the lives of three innocent people was still inside the facility.

Since the release of heavily edited videos depicting Planned Parenthood personnel purportedly discussing the sale of fetal parts hit the Internet, a vicious storm has ensued. Republican extremists have spewed a barrage of unsubstantiated claims about this vital health organization and have gone so far as to play games on the backs of Americans by threatening a government shutdown all to defund the organization. In late September, Planned Parenthood’s CEO Cecile Richards was grilled and repeatedly berated for more than four hours during an official hearing. And in November, Republicans formed a special taxpayer-funded committee to investigate the organization.

Since July, extremists have used politically motivated tactics and rhetoric to spread hate for Planned Parenthood; and it comes as no surprise that Planned Parenthood has seen an increase in violent protests and attacks on their grounds.

More than 17 percent of nonelderly North Carolina women are uninsured. These women deserve access to comprehensive healthcare – whether it is from a clinic or a Planned Parenthood facility. The fact remains that Planned Parenthood provides reliable and quality health care for more than 2.7 million women and men nationwide and more than 31,000 women in North Carolina. Ninety percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are for preventive care; and just 3 percent of services are for legal abortions. Many rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, breast exams, pap smears, fertility advice, and other comprehensive health services.

As members of Congress, we owe it to those who elected us to be responsible with our words, our actions and our politics. The insensitivity that some members have shown this week is juvenile and frankly irresponsible.

Words hurt and the recent antics of a minority of lawmakers have fueled a fire that feeds hate. The political theater must stop. We are just days away from a government shutdown. Instead of attaching policy riders to the budget to defund Planned Parenthood, we should focus on protecting jobs and our economy by passing a clean budget that funds our government.

Democratic Rep. Alma S. Adams serves the Twelfth Congressional District of North Carolina.