By: Menal Raju
On Friday, November 27th, gunman Robert Lewis Dear Jr. killed three and wounded nine with a semiautomatic rifle at a Planned Parenthood clinic based in Colorado Springs. This is the deadliest attack on an abortion clinic ever recorded, according to The Vox.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, more commonly referred to as Planned Parenthood is a non profit organization that provides contraceptive services in the U.S. and internationally. According to their site, Planned Parenthood has approximately 700 health clinics and 174 affiliates. Planned Parenthood provides access to an array of reproductive health services, is involved in sexual education efforts, funds research in reproductive technology, and pursues legal and political efforts to conserve and expand reproductive rights
GunmanRobert L. Dear was not the first commit a violent act against a
Planned Parenthood clinic. Planned Parenthood has been the target of many instances of violence by anti-abortion activists including bombings, arson, and chemical weaponry. In 1994, John Salvi opened fire on a Brookline, Massachusetts based Planned Parenthood clinic. Salvi murdered receptionist Shannon Elizabeth Lowney and wounded three others. After, Salvi took off to another Planned Parenthood clinic, murdered Leane Nichols and wounded two others. In 2012, a Planned Parenthood Clinic originating in Grand Chute, Wisconsin was bombed by an unknown perpetrator. Later in 2015, a Planned Parenthood Clinic was massively damaged by arson, again by an unknown perpetrator.
Gunman Robert Lewis Dear finally surrendered to police after a five hour gun battle and was taken into police custody. After Dear was arrested, he said, “no more baby parts” during a “rambling” interview to the authorities. This was confirmed by an anonymous senior law enforcement official, according to The New York Times.
In spite of the horrific violence, Planned Parenthood clinics remain open nationwide. Planned Parenthood issued a statement regarding the situation in Colorado on the organization’s website. Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said,
“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation. Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country,” Cowart then concluded: “We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”