Planned Parenthood opened a new health facility last week in the Los Angeles area, just days after a shooting rampage at a Colorado clinic killed three people.
“Our doors are open today, in Colorado and across the country, and nothing will deter us from providing high-quality health care to our patients,” Celinda Vazquez, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles vice president of public affairs, said in a statement.
The West Hollywood facility will offer a range of services, including gynecological and breast examinations, STD testing, cancer screenings, birth control, and abortion care. The clinic will begin dispensing two powerful anti-HIV drugs aimed at lowering the rate of infections.
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The opening was greeted without protest, according to reports, which isn’t uncommon in the Golden State, but marks a sharp contrast to the violence and harassment that have plagued reproductive health clinics of late.
Two months before the Colorado rampage, the FBI warned that there would be “an uptick in attacks on reproductive health-care facilities,” as Rewire reported.
The suspected gunman in the Colorado Springs attack, Robert Lewis Dear, reportedly told authorities “no more baby parts”—an apparent reference to a series of covertly recorded, widely discredited videos released this summer that claim Planned Parenthood illegally traffics in fetal tissue. The heavily edited footage was produced by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), an anti-choice front group that has worked with Republican lawmakers to smear the health-care organization. The CMP attack videos, pro-choice advocates suggest, have contributed to a climate of violence.
Incidents of harassment against Planned Parenthood clinics surged nine-fold in July, according to National Abortion Federation court filings, compared to reported incidents in June. Reported incidents of harassment were even more numerous in August.
NARAL Pro Choice America and other abortion rights groups reportedly delivered a petition with more than 300,000 signatures calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to classify clinic attacks as domestic terrorism.
The Democratic governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, and the Republican mayor of Colorado Springs, John Suthers, told the New York Times that the Planned Parenthood rampage appeared to be a form of terrorism.
Investigations in at least eight states have found no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, as Rewire has reported.