The next GOP debate is perhaps one of the most important political events to close out 2015. Much has happened between the fourth debate, which took place on Nov. 10 and the upcoming showdown to be held on Dec. 16 at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Major mass shootings have occurred and the Syrian refugee crisis has only gotten worse. Will the Planned Parenthood shooting be brought up at the GOP debate? The multi-faceted issue is an important one that rightfully should be highlighted. If anything, the GOP needs to debate the Planned Parenthood shooting. The Planned Parenthood shooting intersects at a strange place for Republican candidates, at once prompting the debate of gun control and Planned Parenthood's place in society.
GOP candidates don't have a lot of good things to say about the organization, though. Save for the most recent debate, Planned Parenthood has been mentioned every single time by prominent Republicans who took the stage for primetime debate. Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina famously decried the reproductive healthcare provider at the second debate, referencing a fake video that had been heavily edited and contained misleading images of what turned out to be a miscarried fetus. Candidates have spoken at length about how they've vowed to defund Planned Parenthood and have avidly worked to do so on a state level; Jeb Bush had defunded the organization as governor of Florida, and boasted about it during the first GOP debate.
The suspected Planned Parenthood gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, reportedly said "no more baby parts" when giving a statement to law enforcement regarding his motives for the shooting, which appears to reference the aforementioned erroneous video. Despite this alleged statement and his recent proclamation in court that he was "a warrior for babies," Fiorina says the shooting has nothing to do with anti-abortion sentiment. In an appearance on Fox News Sunday following the tragic event, Fiorina had this to say:
This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don’t agree with the message. The vast majority of Americans agree, what Planned Parenthood is doing is wrong.
For that reason, it's highly unlikely that GOP candidates will meet the issue head on. If anything, they may potentially use the Planned Parenthood shooting to bolster their rhetoric against the organization. Regarding gun control, candidates have taken a hard line against restrictions and seem to be using recent events as a means to advocate for less gun control. "We don't stop the bad guys by taking away our guns. We stop the bad guys by using our guns," Ted Cruz said, following the San Bernardino shooting. These two key issues aren't going away, and it's high time the Republican Party address them, especially during a debate.