To the editor: The Times wishes that anti-abortion activists would refrain from toxic rhetoric, but even in light of the shooting deaths of three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, it defends their right to speak in this way so long as they refrain from "explicit" incitement. ("Must Planned Parenthood critics share guilt with the shooter?," editorial, Dec. 1)
You do not recognize as incitement the "baby parts" vitriol ranted for months against Planned Parenthood because it apparently wasn't explicit enough. It also isn't enough that law enforcement throughout the country anticipated that this rhetoric would incite violence toward Planned Parenthood.
Certainly though, a national newspaper must know that the power of hateful rhetoric to incite mass murder. A national newspaper also ought to know that it has a moral obligation to do what it can to prevent mass murder by recognizing and exposing dangerous rhetoric.
Instead of defending those who stirred up hatred by telling us about free speech, use your own power to serve the public good and call these people out for incitement.
Patricia Casey, Fallbrook, Calif.
To the editor: I am anti-abortion. But in viewing the Planned Parenthood videos, I concur that there were no damning words that constituted an admission of selling body parts. And I cannot argue with your statement that "using fetal tissue for medical research is legal."
But the most indicting words, which seem to have escaped everyone's attention so far, came out of the mouth a Planned Parenthood official who talked about supplying "intact fetal cadavers."
Webster's dictionary defines "cadaver" as a dead human body. By this official's words, she is acknowledging that abortions result in dead human beings. And since death occurs at the hands of another human being, it is homicide.
Does the law permit research on a cadaver without the consent of the deceased? I don't know. But I do know the fetal boy or girl gave no such consent.
Kevin Davis, Beverly Hills
To the editor: The reactions of many liberal and conservative pundits to the events in Colorado illustrate the hypocrisy that exists in today's political rhetoric.
Many liberals are quick to blame conservative rhetoric instead of the deranged individual who committed the act. In other situations they switch positions — for example, many conservatives blame liberal activist rhetoric for the execution-style killing of police officers instead of the deranged individuals who committed those acts.