24 November 2010

State lawmaker in Minnesota totes gun around closed Planned Parenthood office, offers a disturbing excuse

A Republican state representative in Minnesota was briefly detained after a curious exchange in the parking lot of a Planned Parenthood on Tuesday 16 November. Thomas Hackbarth drove into the lot, placed a fully loaded gun in his waistband, got out of his truck, and walked around the back of the building. A security guard saw the gun and called police, who arrived as Hackbarth was about to drive away. Hackbarth, who has a CCP, is listed as co-author of a concern-troll bill about "coerced abortions" that adds paperwork and notification procedures for women seeking abortions, a bill that mandates piss tests for welfare recipients, and a "Tenther" bill. He says it was mere coincidence that the parking lot he ended up in was one for a Planned Parenthood. Rather, he explains, he was only looking for somebody he met online:
Hackbarth said he had coffee with the woman on Nov. 15, and asked her to dinner the next night but she told him she couldn't because of a commitment she had with a female friend in Highland Park. Hackbarth said he felt that she might have been seeing a man instead, so he parked his car and walked around the block looking for her car. [ ... ] "I didn't even know it was Planned Parenthood," [Hackbarth] said.
Well, a little bit of googlemapping and a streetview shows that the clinic has the standard "Planned Parenthood" logo clearly attached to the front of the building there. It was night, but the daytime streetview shows a floodlight there next to the security cameras.

And it's not that big of a parking lot.

I dug a little more and found that that the Highland Park clinic is the only Planned Parenthood in Minnesota that performs abortions; the others offer healthcare and counseling but can give only abortion referrals. When the general goal of most anti-choice legislation is to regulate abortions out of existence by making them more and more cumbersome and expensive to obtain, it's hard for me to believe that a lawmaker as anti-choice as Hackbarth doesn't know the location of the last remaining Planned Parenthood performing abortions in his own state.

But, OK, let's buy it and see where it gets us. Maybe he really didn't know that it was a Planned Parenthood, the only one in Minnesota offering abortions; maybe the floodlight was out and the streetlights didn't reach the sign. It's not his neighborhood, and really he spends more time co-authoring bills about hunting, casinos, and alcohol than about abortion. Did you dig his excuse for going out with his fully-loaded gun in his belt? He was stalking a woman who declined a second date with him.
"I was not a jealous boyfriend," said [protested too much?] Hackbarth, who is in the process of divorcing his wife of 25 years. "I was just trying to check up on her. It's totally a misunderstanding."
He stopped in the empty parking lot of a closed, full-service Planned Parenthood clinic to "check up on" someone who told him no, thanks to a relationship. This is not a "misunderstanding"; this is a pretty damn clear case of stalking, and I'm glad that the woman spotted Hackbarth's creepiness before she accepted a dinner date with him.

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