Three people were killed, including one police officer on the scene trying to stop the shooter; nine others were injured. The gunman has since been identified by police as Robert Lewis Dear, a 57-year-old man, who, reports say, had legally obtained his firearm.
The mayor of Colorado Springs says authorities aren’t ready to discuss a possible motive of the gunman but says people can make “inferences from where it took place.”
We can infer, for example, that a 57-year-old man was so afraid of women’s health that he engaged in an act of domestic terrorism. We can infer that a 57-year-old man was so afraid of women’s health that he wanted women to be as afraid to seek out necessary, basic health care services.
The Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs provides abortion services, contraception counseling and prescriptions, HIV testing, men’s health care, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing and services, STD testing and treatment, and general women’s health care. It accepts 20 different kinds of insurance and provides services to all patients, regardless of insurance or financial status.
A 57-year-old man was so afraid of women’s health that he wanted to stop a huge number of women from getting accessible, comprehensive, and affordable health care.
And it isn’t just one man who is afraid of women’s health, but many. (And, yes, in all of the most recent incidents, the attackers have been men.)
As Vox’s Sarah Kliff noted Friday night, “[S]hootings at abortion clinics are rare. But violence against clinics is not.” The National Abortion Federation reports four arson attempts on clinics in 2012 alone. The past few months of 2015 have seen attacks on clinics in New Orleans (arson); Pullman, Wash. (arson); Thousand Oaks, Calif. (arson); and Aurora, Ill. (arson).
The recent attacks on Planned Parenthood that have come as a result of the widely discredited, heavily edited “sting” videos released this summer by the antiabortion activist group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) have only inflamed the fearmongering, hatred, and violence against women’s bodies that are, unfortunately, a long-standing cultural trend. Terrorizing women for living in their own bodies and for having autonomy over their own health decisions is something that has long antagonized many — so much so that they would, clearly, turn to killing, violence, and terrorism rather than let women live safely and independently.
Congress has held four hearings on Planned Parenthood in the past few months alone, despite countless states having found the reproductive and sexual health care provider free of any wrongdoing in internal, statewide investigations. The claims against Planned Parenthood made by the CMP have been uniformly found to be untrue: Planned Parenthood is not illegally selling fetal parts, as the organization insists. So the continued investigation of Planned Parenthood, despite the most recent attacks on the integrity of the organization being unfounded, serve only to prove that it isn’t the practice of fetal tissue donation (a long-standing, legal practice that is critical to biomedical research and was formalized and expanded under President Ronald Reagan) that those who rally against Planned Parenthood are against, but the access to safe and legal abortion as guaranteed to American women under 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling — and to women themselves.