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Planned Parenthood Allies Demand Accountability

After last week's shooting in Colorado Springs, groups supporting Planned Parenthood are asking leaders to tone down their verbal attacks on the health-care provider. Credit: Charlotte Cooper/Wikimedia Commons.
After last week's shooting in Colorado Springs, groups supporting Planned Parenthood are asking leaders to tone down their verbal attacks on the health-care provider. Credit: Charlotte Cooper/Wikimedia Commons.
December 2, 2015

DENVER - In the aftermath of last week's attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, allies of the clinics are demanding accountability from politicians for their hostile rhetoric against the health-care provider.

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz has called Planned Parenthood "barbaric," and in an early Republican presidential debate, Carly Fiorina said, incorrectly, that it "harvests the brains" of babies.

In Denver on Tuesday, Karen Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, asked leaders at all levels to choose their words more carefully.

"When they are using words that incite violence and calls to action for violence, that there are individuals - like the terrible case on Friday - where people are listening," she said. "They're listening without a filter, and they are taking action based on those words."

Middleton said the rallying cry "Battling for Babies" also can be seen as condoning violent behavior.

Although the alleged gunman's motives in the Friday shooting remain unclear, it has been reported that he used the words "no more baby parts." That phrase was popularized after the release of a series of widely debunked videos showing Planned Parenthood staff talking about fetal-tissue research.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks domestic hate groups and other extremists, at least four Planned Parenthood clinics have been targeted for arson since the videos were released. Middleton said seven in 10 Americans support a woman's right to choose, and she's hopeful the "silent majority" will speak up after witnessing last week's tragic events.

"A police officer running to a first responder to be brutally attacked and murdered by someone for trying to do his job and take care of people," she said. "This goes beyond what is acceptable, and we have got to figure out how to make that change."

Statistics from the National Abortion Federation show that since 1977, eight providers have been killed and 17 others faced murder attempts. Clinics providing legal abortions have been the targets of 42 bombings and 186 arson fires.

Eric Galatas/Dallas Heltzell, Public News Service - CO