Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF):
Today, a shooter entered a NAF member Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and held clinic staff and patients hostage for several hours. During that time, he exchanged gunfire with law enforcement, reportedly killing three people, and injuring at least nine others.
Our hearts go out to the families of those who were killed and to those who were injured at the scene. We are grateful to law enforcement at all levels who responded to this incident, and to the clinic staff who endured this attack and took quick action to ensure that patients were safe.
Since a series of highly-edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers. We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw today.
This clinic is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in one of the highly-edited smear videos released this summer. Since that video, the affiliate has seen an increase in protesters and death threats against one of their doctors.
Although anti-abortion groups may condemn this type of violence when it happens, the way that they target and demonize providers contributes to a culture where some feel it is justifiable to murder doctors simply because they provide women with the abortion care they need. Since 1977, there have been 8 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 186 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities. The last abortion provider was murdered in 2009 when NAF member Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in his church in Wichita, Kansas.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Alissa Manzoeillo, National Abortion Federation
202.667.5881, ext 219; 202.595.4395 (after hours/cell)
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia.