Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards on Monday urged a cooling of “hateful” political speech against her organization after a deadly shooting at a clinic in Colorado.
“Our motto at Planned Parenthood is care no matter what and that our doors stay open. And they have,” Richards told MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell. “At the same time, though, I think it’s important, Andrea, as I think you have referenced, people have to understand that hateful rhetoric and words and harassment of doctors and harassment of women going to health centers have real implications.”
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday, killing three people including a police officer as well as an Iraq War veteran. Richards said Planned Parenthood is working with law enforcement and providing help with their investigation into the “very disturbing” event.
Dear reportedly told authorities “no more baby parts” after he was arrested. Those words refer to the conservative rallying cry that Planned Parenthood sells or pressures women into selling fetal tissue. The issue came to a head this fall when the anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress released multiple, heavily-edited videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue.
“This is an issue that I think has created a lot of hysteria by these incredibly highly edited videos and unfortunately, created the kind of climate that we are now seeing that leads to the harassment of doctors and the violence at clinics which really just has to stop,” Richards told Mitchell.
“I would implore people who are putting politics ahead of women’s health care and ahead of women’s safety to think carefully the rhetoric that you use, that potentially inflames this kind of activity,” she added.