Colorado state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt said that “Planned Parenthood executives” have the “same demonic spirit of murder” as the man accused of killing three people November 27 at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs.
“Listen, the shooter was filled with the demonic spirit of murder,” Klingenschmitt, a Republican, told Denver radio station KLZ 560-AM on December 1, four days after the shooting. “And yet, the Planned Parenthood executives who call for not just the murder but the profiting from selling aborted baby parts, as we’ve seen from their own lips on the videos of the Center for Medical Progress over the summer, they have that same demonic spirit of murder.”
The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-choice front group that has worked alongside Republican legislators to defund Planned Parenthood, this year released a series of surreptitiously recorded, heavily edited videos that claim to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing profiting from a fetal tissue program. Multiple investigations into these claims have turned up no wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood. Republican legislators have continued to use the discredited videos as reason to cut off funding to the health-care organization.
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Klingenschmitt, whose controversial anti-choice comments have drawn national attention, did not immediately return an email asking if he sees any difference between Planned Parenthood executives and the accused shooter, Robert Lewis Dear Jr.
On Wednesday, Dear admitted his guilt, claiming to be a “warrior for the babies,” and accusing his public defender of working with Planned Parenthood to suppress the truth.
Anti-choice leaders have responded to the tragedy with equivocal condemnation of violence, and by objecting to the abortions at Planned Parenthood as well as the killings at the health-care facility.
Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason stated after the tragedy that her organization opposes all violence, including the shooting, but she criticized the media for “failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day that they are in business.”
Klingenschmitt went further on December 1 by equating Planned Parenthood officials with Dear.
Klingenschmitt was one of three Colorado Republicans—along with U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and state Sen. Tim Neville, who represents a West Denver suburb and is running for U.S. Senate—whom local pro-choice activists accused of inciting clinic violence through their use of “extreme” rhetoric.
Klingenschmitt’s post-shooting comments mirror one of his quotes cited by activists as an example of the kind of language that contributes to violence against abortion providers and clinic workers. He has said previously, “Planned Parenthood … I think they’re also filled with the demonic spirit of murder.”
Klingenschmitt was hardly the first state representative to level criticism against Planned Parenthood in the wake of the deadly shooting. A high-ranking Colorado Republican called for more investigations into Planned Parenthood days after the clinic violence, despite state officials repeatedly turning down requests to look into the health-care organization.
Colorado state Rep. JoAnn Windholz blamed Planned Parenthood officials for the shooting in a Facebook post provided to the Colorado Independent. Windholz has apparently taken down the social media post.
“Never have I called for violence. In fact, we abhor the actions of the violent shooter,” Klingenschmitt told the Colorado radio station on December 1.
Dear was formally charged Wednesday in El Paso County District Court with 179 counts, including eight counts of first-degree murder.