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Holly Richardson: How are ‘pro-life’ people OK with death threats?

A women cries after the funeral of Ismail Taskin, 38 years old, killed during incoming shelling from Syria Thursday, in Suruc, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border with Syria, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. Turkey says its military offensive has taken central Ras al-Ayn, a key border town in northeastern Syria, and its most significant gain since its cross-border operation began against Syrian Kurdish fighters began. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Last week, Sen. Mitt Romney called out the Trump administration for pulling out U.S. troops from Syria. Now, Russia and Turkey control the region, over 300,000 Kurds have been displaced and over 500 have died, including men, women and children.

One of those murdered was Hevrin Khalaf, a young Kurdish female hero who, at 34, has been trying to build a better society for women and children. She was beloved for her leadership in uniting Arabs, Christians and Kurds and advancing women’s rights. She was shot, beaten and dragged by her hair until her scalp separated from her head by Turkish troops the week after Trump announced he was withdrawing U.S. troops from the region.

So how did some Republicans act towards Romney after his sharp criticism of the administration abandoning our allies? They sent him death threats.

The pro-life, pro-family plank is still (supposedly) a cornerstone of the GOP, so it is confusing to me to see a number of Republicans who are, at best, indifferent to life and, at worst, are advocating death for people with whom they disagree.

It’s mind-boggling, actually.

Romney is not the only elected official to get death threats, of course.

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat, received hundreds of death threats after President Trump tweeted a photo super-imposing her photo on a shot of the twin towers on 9/11.

One man, Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., called her office and told the poor staffer answering the phone, “Why are you working for her, she’s a [expletive] terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.” When police searched his home, they found over 1,000 rounds of ammunition and six illegal guns, including an AK-47, which, as a convicted felon, he was not supposed to have.

When I was a legislator during the 2011 session, I — and many of my Republican colleagues — got death threats from other Republicans. Why? Because we supported a common sense approach to immigration.

Again. Mind-boggling to think that a difference in political opinion somehow translates to death. Tell me again how that is pro-life or pro-family?

My confusion extends beyond the use of death threats.

I do not understand how and why some people who honor life in the womb do not also extend it to, say, refugees, or immigrants. Do their lives not matter? Do their families not matter?

On Friday, news reports confirmed that the Trump administration has separated over 5,400 children from their families and in one year alone, more than 200 under age 5.

“Children from that period can be difficult to find because the government had inadequate tracking systems.”

Yikes. Sadly, I still don’t hear many Republicans calling out those anti-family policies.

Last month, Trump slashed the number of refugees that the United States will accept to 18,000 per year — the lowest number ever, and an anomaly among Republican presidents who historically accept more refugees than their Democratic counterparts, Presidents Ford, Reagan, H.W. Bush and W. Bush accepted on average 86,700; 82,500; 118,800; and 47,700 refugees per year during their terms in office. Instead of seeing Republican leaders stand for families and for life, there is either deafening silence — or, even worse, celebration of these anti-family policies.

One of the planks that initially drew me to the Republican Party when I was coming of voting age was their pro-life, pro-family positions.

I still believe all life is precious. I still believe most families are doing their best to raise their children and keep them safe.

Life matters, even past 40 weeks of gestation.

| Courtesy Holly Richardson, op-ed mug.

Holly Richardson, a regular contributor to The Salt Lake Tribune, was gratified to see her church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, step up to help tens of thousands of immigrants along our southern border.

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