Ben Carson pushed back yesterday on claims that anti-abortion rhetoric may have played a role in the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, insisting in an interview with Martha Raddatz that “there’s a lot of extremism coming from all areas” and divisive rhetoric “comes from both sides.” “There is no saint here in this equation,” he said.
While it is typical for a politician to suggest that “both sides” are to blame for toxic rhetoric and political dysfunction, Carson may want to look back on his own record of statements about Planned Parenthood.
Carson cited a discredited right-wing smear to claim that Planned Parenthood was created “to eliminate black people.”
He also claimed that conservatives need “to help women understand that they are being manipulated” by Planned Parenthood, arguing that the organization must be defunded.
The former neurosurgeon noted that he change his mind about abortion after realizing it was like “slavery.”
“I was thinking about slavery and I was thinking about the abolitionists, and I said, what if the abolitionists had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery but anybody else can do whatever they want’?” Carson declared. “Where would we be today?”
“Slavery is a moral issue and so is abortion,” he insisted. “It’s a moral issue that we’re dealing with.”
He made the same case in an NBC interview: “During slavery — and I know that's one of those words you're not supposed to say, but I'm saying it — during slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose to do. And what if the abolitionists had said: 'You know, I don't believe in slavery. I think it's wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do'? Where would we be?”
But remember, both sides are extreme!