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Lankford: Pro-life people don't believe in killing

Sen. James Lankford, who led the effort to defund Planned Parenthood in the summer, says it makes "no rational sense" to equate anti-abortion activism with the killing of three people on Friday at Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said at a news conference on Monday, "There are many individuals who have a real problem _ myself included _ with large amounts of federal dollars going to ...  the single largest provider of abortion in the country.

"As far as what happened this past weekend in Colorado, it’s heart wrenching. No one who stands up for life says the way that you protest is to go kill people. That makes no rational sense. Now we don’t know all the motivations for this individual, but I can assure you an individual who goes and randomly shoots and kills adults is not also standing up for children at the same time.

"That doesn’t make moral sense; that doesn’t make rational sense between the two. Clearly that person isn’t standing up for pro life when you’re taking life."

In a CNN interview on Tuesday, Lankford dismissed the idea that rhetoric against Planned Parenthood led the man to kill three people and wound nine others.

"This is something similar to saying if the president and others talk about climate change, then the president's comments about climate change would be blamed for a shooting in a coal mine," Lankford said. " Those two don't connect."

At a news conference on Tuesday in Paris, President Barack Obama, who has been working with foreign leaders on issues surrounding climate change, was asked about the Colorado shooting in the context of the debate over Planned Parenthood.

Obama said, "And with respect to Planned Parenthood, I think it’s clear _ I’ve said it before _ they provide health services to women all across the country. Have for generations. In many cases, it’s the only organization that provides health services to impoverished women.

"And I think it’s fair to have a legitimate, honest debate about abortion. I don’t think that’s something that is beyond the pale of our political discussion; I think it’s a serious, legitimate issue. How we talk about it _ making sure that we’re talking about it factually, accurately, and not demonizing organizations like Planned Parenthood _ I think is important."

Congress is expected to revisit the Planned Parenthood funding issues in the next few days, and the battle threatens to stall critical spending legislation.

Lankford said the funding of Planned Parenthood _ which is done through grants, not direct appropriations by Congress _ has been controversial for years and would continue to be.

"There is a significant group of people across the country that has a real problem with that, and that has to be addressed and that may take years to get that done, " Lankford said Monday.

Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›