Why This Elected Official's Statement About Planned Parenthood Is Scary

In a series of Facebook posts on Friday afternoon, Republican Kansas Rep. Peggy Mast called Hitler's words "profound," and later attempted to clarify confusion by saying she was merely attempting to draw a comparison between the notorious dictator and Planned Parenthood.

Peggy Mast

As The Daily Beast first reported, the Kansas Representative posted the following statement, which was not accompanied by a video.

"Great quote from Hitler in the video. Please listen to it closely. His words are profound! Let's start using discernment."

This post has since been deleted or hidden from public view. In a later public Facebook post, Mast tried to clear up the confusion:

"To clarify the intent of my previous post: Planned Parenthood has learned well the same tactics and deception used by Hitler regarding innocent lives. I was not in any way agreeing with Hitler's words, rather, I was making a connection between the ideology he used and the arguments made by Planned Parenthood. I find both deplorable and heartbreaking."

Here's why Mast's comments are a serious issue.

Mast's comments are only one example of hateful anti-abortion rhetoric. Abortion activists fear extreme anti-abortion rhetoric could spur attacks on Planned Parenthood locations, or other facilities that provide reproductive care. There's a body of research to support those fears, including a series of studies conducted by the University of Michigan, which found that people who were predisposed to aggressive behavior could be incited to real world action by reading political material containing violent language.

Stand with Planned Parenthood sign


Recent history has reinforced these fears.

During the summer of 2015, the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress released a series of videos claiming to show Planned Parenthood officials engaging in illegal behavior, including the sale of aborted fetuses' organs. One video, posted in July of 2015, showed graphic images of a Planned Parenthood doctor "examining a fetus and isolating different organs," according to CBS News.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa said the videos were "hard for anyone to defend and hit at the moral fabric of our society."

Then-Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina brought up the videos during a primary debate. carly-fiorina

"As regards [to] Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes," Fiorina said. She continued,

"Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."

It was later determined that the image Fiorina was referring to was not present in any of the videos, and the scene closest to what she was describing may actually depict a miscarriage and not an abortion.

The videos had a major impact on Planned Parenthood.

Republicans cited the videos as reason to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that the videos "were misleading and deceptively edited" and showed nothing illegal, CBS News reports.

Then, in November of 2015, 57-year-old Robert Dear fired shots outside of a Planned Parenthood location and reportedly uttered "no more baby parts" as he was arrested.

Other abortion clinics also saw an increase in threats.

Anti-abortion protest at Planned Parenthood

Since July, when the fourth video was released, there have been four arson attacks/attempts in Illinois, Louisiana, Washington, and California.

In October, someone attacked a Planned Parenthood location in New Hampshire with a hatchet. Equipment was destroyed and walls were vandalized, but no one was hurt. This was the first time in 18 years that there was an incident with a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Hampshire, according to the local police chief.

"Only recently has Planned Parenthood become such a symbol of evil in the right-wing imagination," notes Michelle Goldberg at Slate. "In the past, the targets of anti-abortion murders were usually specific doctors, not Planned Parenthood as an institution."

Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Human Rights sign

The Nazi/Planned Parenthood comparison has been made several times before.

Bill O'Reilly referred to Planned Parenthood's services as "Nazi stuff." during a July show. "This is what they did in the Third Reich with these experiments."

Conservative online magazine The Federalist posted an article in 2015 titled, "It's Getting Tough To Tell Planned Parenthood from Nazis."

Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz has called Planned Parenthood a "criminal enterprise" that is "heartlessly bartering and selling he body parts of human beings." Both he and Fiorina,deny that the rhetoric of the right has anything to do with Planned Parenthood attacks, with the later dismissing the accusation as "typical left-wing tactics."

Pro-choice advocates disagree.

After the shooting at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement saying, "It is offensive and outrageous that some politicians are now claiming this tragedy has nothing to do with the toxic environment they helped create."

ATTN: has reached out to Peggy Mast and will update if we receive a response.