WASHINGTON – Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president, condemned Republican presidential candidates for continuing “hateful rhetoric” that led to last Friday’s shooting at a Colorado clinic that killed three people, including a police officer
On Sunday morning talk shows, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, and others used this tragedy “to repeat false claims about Planned Parenthood. Instead of looking for lessons to prevent this from happening in the future, they’re doubling down on their effort to block women from getting preventive health care at Planned Parenthood,” Laguens said in a statement.
According to numerous press accounts, the shooter, Robert Lewis Dear Jr., invoked the phrase “no more baby parts” after his arrest on Friday night. This was a reference to inflammatory videos created and disseminated by extreme anti-abortion activists with ties to violence – videos that have been discredited and debunked.
Yet on Sunday morning, Fiorina and Trump continued to attack Planned Parenthood services, pushing a political agenda opposed to women’s reproductive rights, and they continued to invoke the discredited videos referenced by the killer.
Full statement by Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“We are grateful for the enormous outpouring of support from people all across the country who are appalled by this act of violence and want to see an end to the hateful rhetoric that fueled it.”
“It is offensive and outrageous that some politicians are now claiming this tragedy has nothing to do with the toxic environment they helped create. Even when the gunman was still inside of our health center, politicians who have long opposed safe and legal abortion were on television pushing their campaign to defund Planned Parenthood and invoking the discredited video smear campaign that reportedly fed this shooter’s rage. Now, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, and others are using this tragedy to repeat false claims about Planned Parenthood. Instead of looking for lessons to prevent this from happening in the future, they’re doubling down on their effort to block women from getting preventive health care at Planned Parenthood. Just last week, Ted Cruz accepted the endorsement of a group whose leaders have been convicted and served prison time for threatening to firebomb abortion clinics.”
“One of the lessons of this awful tragedy is that words matter, and hateful rhetoric fuels violence. It’s not enough to denounce the tragedy without also denouncing the poisonous rhetoric that fueled it. Instead, some politicians are continuing to stoke it, which is unconscionable.”
“At Planned Parenthood, our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our patients and staff. Our doors are open today, in Colorado and across the country, and nothing will deter us from providing high-quality health care to millions of people.”
Photo: A police officer is transported to an ambulance near a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Colorado Springs, Colo, after a gunman opened fire at the clinic killing three people. (Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP)