Instead of pursuing a campaign to recall Rep. JoAnn Windholz (R-Commerce City), a Colorado legislator who accused Planned Parenthood of being the “true instigator” of November’s deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs clinic, pro-choice activists have decided to press her to resign from office.
Organizers launched a potential recall effort days after Windholz’s controversial statement, raising $5,500, most of which will now be given to victims of the Colorado Springs shooting, organizer Steve Cohn told the Colorado Independent, a progressive news site.
“Violence is never the answer, but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit,” Windholz wrote on her Facebook page, as first reported by the Colorado Independent three days after the November 27 shooting that left three dead. “The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any Planned Parenthood facility is Planned Parenthood themselves. Violence begets violence. So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS,” Windholz wrote.
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About a dozen people, including Cohn, delivered 63,000 signatures, gathered online, to the Colorado capitol Tuesday calling on Windholz to resign from the state legislature, according to the Independent.
Cohn told the Independent that his group wants “to make sure that everyone who goes to the ballot box in November knows what Windholz said.”
“We’re no longer focused on recalling her,” Cohn said, referring to the process by which voters can call for another election in hopes of removing an elected official from office before her term ends. “We’re making sure her abhorrent words stay in the news until November.”
Windholz denied pinning blame on the health-care organization in the aftermath of the Colorado Springs killings—part of a wave of clinic violence over the past year.
“I never once blamed the victims, and as a supporter of life I am deeply saddened by the loss of any life,” Windholz said in a statement reported in the Denver Post Tuesday. “I will continue to support life and the values of my constituents.”
Windholz has removed her anti-Planned Parenthood post from her Facebook page.
After the Facebook controversy, EMILY’s List, which backs women in politics, targeted Windholz’s seat as a “top target for Democratic takeover” in November’s election.
“EMILY’s List is determined to send her packing in 2016,” states the organization’s website.
Windholz is finishing her first term in the state legislature, having won her seat in 2014 by 106 votes. Democrats hold a three-seat majority in Colorado’s house. Two Democrats are in a primary race to replace Windholz.
Another Colorado Republican state lawmaker, Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, said after the Colorado Springs shooting that Planned Parenthood executives have the “same demonic spirit of murder” as the accused shooter, Robert Lewis Dear Jr.
Thousands of anti-choice protesters marched in Denver January 16 to mark the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Speakers at the rally denounced Planned Parenthood and vowed to step up their efforts to pass anti-choice legislation in Colorado, which has a pro-choice Democratic governor.
Dear is awaiting trial in Colorado Springs. He recently told a Denver television news station that he “picked Planned Parenthood because it’s murdering little babies.”