Tag Archives: abortion restrictions

3 dead in gunman’s rampage at Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic

Three of the 12 people shot during an hours-long shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood clinic yesterday are dead.

Colorado Springs Police spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley has confirmed that a police officer and two civilians were killed during the standoff between police and the gunman, whom AP identified as Robert Lewis Dear. An AP source, who requested anonymity, said the gunman was from North Carolina.

Dear’s nine other victims are expected to recover.

Although police have not yet determined whether the shooter was targeting Planned Parenthood, the incident comes in the wake of four arson attacks on PP clinics since Sept. 4.

Arsonists have set fire — or attempted to — at abortion clinics in Pullman, Washington; Thousand Oaks, California; Aurora, Illinois and New Orleans. Pro-choice advocates have complained that national media has overlooked the arson attacks.

NARAL Pro-Choice America circulated a petition last month calling on the FBI to investigate the arsons as acts of domestic terrorism. More than 40,00 people have signed it.

“These attacks on clinics are part of a long history of ideologically-driven violence,” NARAL wrote on the petition. “They’re perpetrated by an extreme minority that’s committed to ruling through fear and intimidation. Let’s call this what it is — domestic terrorism. We can’t wait until one more patient, doctor or nurse is hurt or killed before we say enough is enough. It’s time for an investigation to get to the bottom of this.”

The latest round in a history of deadly violence perpetrated by pro-life activists began after an anti-abortion group videotaped a PP employee talking about providing tissue from aborted fetuses to science. The heavily edited and misleading tape suggested that the organization was selling baby parts to researchers at a profit.

But PP only recouped shipping charges for aborted tissue that women ending their pregnancies asked to have donated to science.

Congress, along with several states, investigated PP clinics and found no wrongdoing. Still, PP decided to stop charging for transporting the tissue in the hope of quelling the anger unleashed among evangelical Christians and other anti-choice activists.

Meanwhile, Congress also held hearings on the issue, which Republicans see as advantageous to them in next year’s elections. Of the GOP presidential candidates, only one — Ted Cruz — has mentioned the attack. In a tweet, he offered condolences for those who lost loved ones.

In a statement to Media Matters, NARAL President Ilyse Hogue suggested all the anti-choice rhetoric played out in the media over the discredited incident was fueling the violence.

She wrote: “Instead of treating these (attacks on clinics) as the real and present danger to innocent civilians that they are, Congress is inviting anti-abortion extremists to testify at hearings, the Department of Justice has yet to announce a full investigation, and the news media remains silent. Where is the outrage?”

At least eight murders of doctors and workers at abortion clinics have occurred in the United States since 1990. Since 1977, there have been 41 bombings and 173 arsons at clinics.

In recent years, the Republican Party has made it a top legislative priority to whittle away at abortion rights in the U.S., with the ultimate goal of overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision making it legal for a woman to determine whether to have a baby.

Wisconsin, where Republicans are in control of every facet of state government, including the Supreme Court, is at the vanguard of those efforts. Gov. Scott Walker recently appointed Rebecca Bradley, a strong opponent to choice, to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, even though her career as a judge began less than four years ago, when he first appointed her to the bench.

Wisconsin has adopted among the most stringent anti-choice laws in the nation.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to review a Wisconsin law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The law, which does not benefit women’s health due to the extreme rarity of complications and the nearby availability of other hospitals to handle any such cases if they arose, was found unconstitutional by a federal appeals court panel.

The Wisconsin case centers on a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services. The groups argue that the 2013 law amounts to an unconstitutional restriction on abortion.

Only about 3 percent of services provided by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin involve ending pregnancies. The organization provides a variety of sexual health services for poor women, including PAP smears, STD and breast screenings, contraceptive services and prenatal care.

Response from Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards to the Colorado shootings

It is heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with the families of the three people whose lives were lost in yesterday’s attack at the Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs. We wish those who were injured a quick and complete recovery.

And, we are deeply grateful to the law enforcement officers who responded with courage to protect Planned Parenthood staff, patients, and community members.

I want every Planned Parenthood patient to know: your safety is our top priority. Planned Parenthood health centers have extensive security measures in place, work closely with law enforcement agencies, and have a very strong safety record.

Planned Parenthood health centers opened their doors again today, in Colorado and across the country. As always, patients were welcomed by extraordinary doctors, nurses, and staff. We willnever, ever back away from providing safe, reliable care to the millions of patients who are counting on us to be there.

These doors stay open, no matter what.

It’s still too soon to know what exactly motivated this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to stand up for Planned Parenthood patients, staff, and the communities they serve — and it means so much to know that you stand with us, ready for whatever comes next.

Like you, I am full of sadness for the people who were harmed in Colorado. I am also full of admiration for what every member of Planned Parenthood’s staff do every day — to ensure that people can get the health care they need, and to work toward a day when we no longer see this kind of violence.

At this moment, our hearts are broken, but our commitment is unchanged. Care, no matter what.

Thank you for standing with Planned Parenthood.

Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Texas Republicans vow to pass extreme anti-choice bill in next two weeks

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst promised Saturday that a bill toughening abortion restrictions would not be derailed again after screaming protesters this week drowned out state senators and ran out the clock on a vote.

In a new special session that starts July 1, lawmakers will take up the anti-abortion bill again after failing to pass it by midnight Tuesday. Political rivals have questioned Dewhurst’s leadership in the Senate and blamed him for the bill’s collapse _ a chaotic scene broadcast over the Internet.

Dewhurst said Saturday after speaking at the National Right to Life Convention that next time, he’ll move to have protesters thrown out if they become disorderly. He said he had tried to get them out Tuesday, though outnumbered troopers in the Capitol were not seen removing most protesters until the early hours of Wednesday.

Believe me,” Dewhurst told reporters. “I have spent most of my time between about 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning and through yesterday making sure that when I give the order … to clear the gallery, it gets done.”

The bill would place new restrictions on abortion clinics that would shutter nearly all of them and ban the procedure after the 20th week of pregnancy.

In his speech, Dewhurst ripped the crowds opposing a vote as driven by “hatred” and “mob rule.” He called on anti-abortion activists to fill hearing rooms and galleries during the next session as their opponents have done, and use social media to broadcast their support using the hashtag “(hash)stand4life.”

As for State Sen. Wendy Davis, whose 11-hour filibuster delayed the vote on the session’s final day and put her in the national spotlight, Dewhurst said, “No human being can talk for two weeks. This bill is going to pass.”

He told reporters he would move quickly on the bill to keep it out of “filibuster range.”

Gov. Rick Perry’s move to add abortion regulations well into the first special session limited the time senators had to act on it, Dewhurst said.

Dewhurst also backed down from comments published Friday on the conservative website Hot Air, in which he said he’d heard reporters in the Capitol were inciting protesters. He told Hot Air he would “take action” against any reporters who were driving the crowd.

On Saturday, he said he respected reporters and that “the case is closed.”

Dewhurst has been lieutenant governor since 2002, and he is running for re-election next year. But a year after he was soundly beaten in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate by Ted Cruz, Dewhurst faces rivals who used Tuesday’s episode to question his ability.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said in a letter that Dewhurst “has lost his grip on the reins of the Senate.” And state Sen. Dan Patrick, who has also joined the race, said the Senate needs new leadership.

Asked about his opponents, Dewhurst said, “I know it’s harder to stay on top than get on top, and I’m going to make sure this state keeps moving forward.”

Dewhurst was flanked Saturday by two women from groups that oppose abortion: Texans For Life Coalition.

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