Last week’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs will not stop the state senate’s assistant Republican majority leader from continuing to investigate the health organization based on discredited, surreptitiously recorded attack videos.
In a Facebook post three days after the shooting, state Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) vowed to continue to demand that Dr. Larry Wolk, chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), investigate whether Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) has broken state laws related to fetal tissue research.
Lundberg contends that PPRM should be investigated based on evidence in highly edited, widely discredited videos published by an anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). CMP officials have worked closely with GOP legislators this year to smear and defund the health-care organization.
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Officials from CDPHE and Colorado’s attorney general Cynthia Coffman have declined to investigate.
Lundberg said on Facebook that he has “specific questions” that he intends to ask Wolk at a meeting of the Colorado Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, which Lundberg chairs.
When Wolk appeared before a legislative committee to answer budget questions, Lundberg questioned Wolk about why his state agency wouldn’t investigate the discredited videos’ claims that Planned Parenthood violated federal fetal tissue laws.
“We did not see any connection to Colorado,” Wolk responded to Lundberg’s question, according to a report in the Durango Herald.
The budget hearing came as funeral preparations were underway in Colorado Springs for the police officer and two civilians who were killed in the shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic.
“I finally had a brief opportunity to question the Colorado Health Department director, Dr. Wolk, concerning his department’s failure to thoroughly investigate possible violations of Colorado law concerning fetal tissue trafficking,” Lundberg wrote on Facebook.
Last month, at an “informational hearing” focused on attacking Planned Parenthood, Lundberg expressed outrage that Wolk or a representative from CDPHE had declined to testify.
Lundberg had since vowed to force Wolk to testify about the Planned Parenthood smear videos during the legislative session that begins in January. Lundberg wrote on Facebook that Wolk agreed on Monday to answer questions at a hearing or any time prior.
“This despite his refusal to come or send anyone from his department to the RSCC Fetal Tissue Trafficking Hearing held on November 9,” Lundberg wrote on Facebook.
Colorado pro-choice activists on Tuesday pointed to the rhetoric at the November 9 hearing, which repeatedly spotlighted the discredited videos, as contributing to the November 27 murders in Colorado Springs.
Lundberg wasn’t cited by the activists, but his fellow Colorado legislators, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs), and state Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) were named at the news conference as stoking violence directed at Planned Parenthood in recent months.
A spokesman for CDPHE told the Colorado Statesman in August that the department has “no current plans to inquire of Planned Parenthood or any other entity concerning alleged transfers of fetal tissue.”