Monday, April 2, 2012

Planned Parenthood bombing demonstrates a need to reassess our values

Bombing at women's health clinic an example of heated rhetoric taken too far

A small bomb exploded on the windowsill of a Planned Parenthood building in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, on Sunday. There were no injuries, and the building is set to reopen Tuesday.

Yet the size of the bomb is unimportant: its message of terror isn't any smaller simply because it's "explosive stature" was minimal.

The intent of the devise was well understood: "we know how to make these weapons, and we disagree with what you're doing here."

For an organization accustomed to such violence, the message goes beyond even that frightful depiction. This isn't an innocent prank, or even a gentle reminder that people disagree with their ethics.

Instead, it's a bigger reminder, one with more grim realities, that the employees of Planned Parenthood go into work with the slight possibility of being killed. Every day.

Say what you will about the debate on abortion: each side presents a reasonable discourse that has thus far kept the conversation alive for several generations. An embryo may very well be a living thing, but it may be something different, too; a woman should have control over her body and her own health decisions, but perhaps absolute control isn't right in all circumstances. The arguments for or against abortion don't seem to be going away, the debate being one that will last into the next generation as well.

But that debate needn't be a violent one. There's no excuse, none whatsoever, for either side to engage in actions that may cause bodily harm to another person.

Whether it be a bomb in Outagamie County or an assassin in Dane County, the needless call for violence on the part of a few hardliner "pro-lifers" is uncalled for. This isn't a war -- this isn't a battle for "righteousness" or anything like that.

The rhetoric that has shaped the debate this way needs to go away, along with the matched actions of radical fundamentalists. Terrorism in any form is unacceptable, in Wisconsin or elsewhere.

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