Activists with World Can’t Wait joined Stop Patriarchy in San Francisco on Saturday, in an emergency response to the deadly attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic the previous day. Marchers engaged shoppers and tourists around the heavily trafficked intersection of Powell and Market Streets, carrying signs and distributing literature in support of abortion rights and women’s lives.
Gunman Robert Lewis Dear killed 3, wounded 9 others Friday in a standoff with police that lasted for five hours. Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in a statement “eyewitnesses confirm that the man… was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion.”
“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months,” Cowart continued. “That environment breeds acts of violence. Americans reject the hatred and vitriol that fueled this tragedy. We do not accept this environment as normal. We should not have to live in a world where accessing health care includes safe rooms and bullet proof glass.”
World Can’t Wait has always connected anti-abortion violence and other repressive measures against people’s rights with hateful rhetoric and policies from the uppermost echelons of society. Activists called Donald Trump, and others who have been whipping up the base of the Republican party into a rage, “fascists” – a point that some people found controversial. While many find Trump disgusting, we must struggle for people to understand how serious the situation is. Where is all this going, as immigrants and Black Lives Matter protesters are beaten and kicked by Trump fans – and as far too many on social media cheered on the deranged attacker in Colorado. Meanwhile, as many passersby gave the pro-choice action on Saturday a “thumbs up” or a friendly word, the need for people to see themselves as responsible and taking action to reverse this climate remains a challenge for us to solve.