The deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic is part of a disturbing trend.
Firefighters battle a blaze at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington September 4, 2015. KREM.com/AP Photo
Three people were shot dead and nine injured Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the first time since 2009 that anyone has been killed in an incident linked to activity at an abortion clinic. The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widely debunked—videos.
While police have not discussed the alleged motives of the suspect, who has been arrested, the attack began at the clinic. According to authorities the gunman entered the facility Friday afternoon and began shooting. During an hours-long standoff, he exchanged fire with police, killing one officer.
Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation.
The clinic attacked on Friday is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the Center for Medical Progress’ videos.
“Since the series of highly-edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers” says Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, which has been tracking violence against providers since the 1970s.
“We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw” on Friday, she added.
The Federation is suing Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress for allegedly setting up a sham biomedical organization and misrepresenting their identities in order to gain access to and record a federation meeting.
Abortion providers have grappled with harassment and threats for years, but the tide of vitriol began rising dramatically in July, after the first video was released. Soon after that, an anonymous reader posted a message on Fox Nation’s website.