“We can’t be a nation that disarms itself,” Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life advocate, told IJR.
Although Democrats have long drawn the connection between restricting abortion and other controversial issues, Johnson says defending the life of the unborn is completely disconnected from issues such as guns, climate change, immigration, and others.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted on May 24, “There is no such thing as being ‘pro-life’ while supporting laws that let children be shot in their schools, elders in grocery stores, worshippers in their houses of faith, survivors by abusers, or anyone in a crowded place.”
“There is nothing new here in the Democrat playbook,” Johnson said. “They’ve been doing this for decades.”
There is no such thing as being “pro-life” while supporting laws that let children be shot in their schools, elders in grocery stores, worshippers in their houses of faith, survivors by abusers, or anyone in a crowded place.
It is an idolatry of violence. And it must end.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 24, 2022
The argument rose once again following the mass shooting that an individual can’t be both pro-life and pro-gun.
But that’s not the case, according to Johnson.
“This has been what liberals have done for many, many years. They have conflated two issues,” Johnson said, adding, “They have put every issue under the banner of pro-life.”
Johnson worked with Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, for eight years until September 2009 when she assisted an ultra-sound abortion of a woman in her 13th week of pregnancy, according to her website. After realizing she wanted to leave the organization, she was faced with a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood, which was later thrown out. She now “travels across the globe sharing her story, educating the public on pro-life issues, advocating for the unborn, and reaching out to abortion clinic staff who still work in the industry.”
The pro-life advocate declared that being pro-life means “one thing,” which is “being against the destruction of innocent life in the womb and that’s it.” She said being “laser-focused on ending abortion” is “a big enough task as it is.”
“No one wants school shootings. No one is for school shootings. Everyone wants school shootings to end. Everyone wants this problem to end. We just have different ideas on how to make that problem end, but it’s not a pro-life issue.”
Regarding the topic of guns and if there should be more restrictions, Johnson, who owns guns including an AR-15, pointed out that there is a “false idea” of what some guns do and “misinformation” about them.
While Johnson says she does not fall into the category of someone who opposes any additional gun restrictions, she does support further background checks. She also pointed to mental health issues as a problem in this country and “people not speaking up when they see something that is obviously concerning.”
Johnson, however, says she is “not sure” further background checks for guns “is going to solve the issue.”
She expressed opposition to “banning certain weapons,” as she added, “I don’t want anything that’s going to infringe on our Second Amendment rights, but I do think that there are some common sense things that could be put in place.”
“We can’t be a nation that disarms itself. We can’t be a nation that begins to tell its citizens these are the types of weapons that you can and can’t have in your home to protect your home.
… Criminals don’t follow the law. There will always be a black market for these types of things. And that’s the fear when you start restricting law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.”
Another idea that has been floated as a step toward fixing the issue of shootings at schools is arming teachers if they go through weapons training. Johnson pointed to her podcast interview in April with Columbine High School shooting survivor Evan Todd, who supports the idea.
Speaking on the reasoning of those who would oppose arming teachers, Todd said, “It really boils down to their fear of firearms and their lack of knowledge. They think there’s going to be some teacher that has a temper issue that’s going to threaten a kid with a gun.”
“A lot of the arguments against it are really intellectually dishonest,” Todd continued. He later added, “School shooters are targeting schools that are unarmed and open for killing.”
The Economist/YouGov poll found that 51% of respondents either “favor strongly” or “favor somewhat” the idea of “giving schoolteachers and school administrators the option of being armed at school.” Republicans were found to be more likely to favor the idea than Democrats.
Bring God back into schools. Bring strong fathers back into homes. And bring some sanity back to our nation.
— Abby Johnson *blue check* (@AbbyJohnson) May 27, 2022
The Washington Post recently dove into the argument about how effective gun laws are in preventing mass shootings.
“The short answer is that many proposed laws probably would not have much impact on curbing the mass shootings that dominate the news. But they could lessen their severity, and might also bring down overall gun violence,” the Post’s Kessler wrote.
James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, who works on criminal investigations surrounding serial and mass murder cases, told Kessler that new gun laws may only reduce the number of mass shootings by one per year. However, new laws may help to curb overall gun violence. Fox is among the individuals writing an upcoming paper for the Department of Justice on “[attempting] to craft a common definition” of mass shootings.
The conversation about what is considered the “right” or “next” step in reducing gun violence and preventing shootings has made headlines recently, following the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, as well as Buffalo, New York, and Tusla, Oklahoma, among others.
The shootings pushed lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives to pass gun-control measures on Thursday. The “Protect Our Kids Act” would “[increase the] age limit on the purchase of certain firearms, prevent gun trafficking, modernize the prohibition on untraceable firearms, encourage the safe storage of firearms, and for other purposes.”
However, while it is likely to pass the House, it will more than likely stall in the Senate. If it does not pass, this situation is similar to the Manchin-Toomey background checks amendment following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which was defeated in the Senate.
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