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Planned Parenthood attack highlights history of violence and also renewed …

  • Planned Parenthood Attack Highlights History Of Violence And Also Renewed ...

    Police investigate at a Planned Parenthood clinic and area around the building north of a strip mall early Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in northwest Colorado Springs, Colo. A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed three people and wounded nine others, officials said. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Planned Parenthood Attack Highlights History Of Violence And Also Renewed ...

    Police investigate at a Planned Parenthood clinic and area around the building north of a strip mall early Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in northwest Colorado Springs, Colo. A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed three people and wounded nine others, officials said. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

LOS ANGELES The fatal shootings at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic are the latest in a long history of violence at clinics that provide abortions and doctors who perform the procedure. Police aren’t saying what motivated this most recent shooting. The attack comes as the nonprofit endures criticism from anti-abortion lawmakers and renewed protests outside clinics since a group of abortion opponents released videos they claimed showed the organization negotiating fetal tissue sales.

WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD? Planned Parenthood has been a polarizing organization ever since its precursor, a clinic in Brooklyn, New York, was founded in 1916 by pioneering birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger. It provides a range of health services including cancer screenings, testing for HIV and contraception but its role as the No. 1 abortion provider in the United States has for many years made it the focus of violence, boycotts, protests and attempted sting operations by anti-abortion activists.

WHAT VIOLENCE HAVE ABORTION CLINICS OR PROVIDERS FACED? Since 1977, there have been 8 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings and 186 arsons and thousands of other incidents, including vandalism, according to the National Abortion Foundation, a trade group for abortion providers. In December 1994, two receptionists were murdered at Planned Parenthood clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts, and five other people were wounded. The convicted gunman, John Salvi, was later found dead in prison of an apparent suicide.

Before Friday, the most recent killing happened in 2009 in a Wichita, Kansas, church where Dr. George Tiller, who performed late-term abortions, was slain while serving as an usher. He had been shot in a previous attack years earlier. Planned Parenthood clinics in New Hampshire, Southern California and Washington have been targeted by vandals and arsonists since a new wave of anti-abortion protests began this summer. WHY HAS PLANNED PARENTHOOD FACED RENEWED CRITICISM?

The campaign against Planned Parenthood has intensified since July, when anti-abortion activists who posed as representatives of a biomedical firm began releasing a series of undercover videos. They sought to negotiate the purchase of fetal organs from Planned Parenthood personnel. Planned Parenthood has denied seeking any payments beyond legally permitted reimbursement of the costs for donating the organs to researchers. Citing the videos, Republicans in Congress have been seeking to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and the organization has been investigated by several GOP-led committees. Additionally, several states where Republicans hold power have sought to block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

The efforts have shown no sign of easing. Yet to move into high gear is a recently formed House investigative committee, led by some of the most staunch abortion opponents in Congress, which is expected to focus its work on Planned Parenthood. WHAT IMPACT HAVE THE VIDEOS HAD AT COLORADO CLINICS? One of the videos released by the California-based Center for Medical Progress showed Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president of Denver-based Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, discussing prices of aborted fetal remains, the center said. Planned Parenthood said that video and the others were misleading and deceptively edited.

Since the videos began airing, threats against abortion clinics nationwide have spiked, said Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.

“The noise level out there about Planned Parenthood has been high, and it’s been hateful the last several months,” said Vicki Cowart, CEO and president of the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. There have been more protesters targeting Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which includes the Colorado Springs clinic, and one of its doctors has been the subject of death threats, Saporta said. WHAT KIND OF SECURITY DOES THE COLORADO SPRINGS CLINIC HAVE?

The gunman broke into the clinic after a security guard had finished his shift, but staff followed safety plans perfectly, which probably saved many lives, Cowart said. A receptionist, who heard gunfire outside the building Friday, alerted others to keep away. The suspect broke in to the reception area, but was stopped by a locked door leading to the main part of the clinic. Staff followed protocol to hide in locked rooms in the center of the clinic during a standoff that lasted about five hours.

The facility had live security cameras that allowed Planned Parenthood to share information with police about what was happening inside.

Cowart dismissed the suggestion of installing metal detectors at the clinic, saying: “Nobody deserves to walk through a metal detector to access health care.”

____

Crary reported from New York.

Planned Parenthood Under Fire Literally and Figuratively

The fatal shootings at a Colorado Planned Parenthood[1] clinic are the latest in a long history of violence at clinics that provide abortions and doctors who perform the procedure. Police aren’t saying what motivated this most recent shooting. The attack comes as the nonprofit endures criticism from anti-abortion lawmakers and renewed protests outside clinics since a group of abortion opponents released videos they claimed showed the organization negotiating fetal tissue sales.

WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD?

Planned Parenthood has been a polarizing organization ever since its precursor, a clinic in Brooklyn, New York, was founded in 1916 by pioneering birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger.

It provides a range of health services including cancer screenings, testing for HIV and contraception but its role as the No. 1 abortion provider in the United States has for many years made it the focus of violence, boycotts, protests and attempted sting operations by anti-abortion activists.

WHAT VIOLENCE HAVE ABORTION CLINICS OR PROVIDERS FACED?

Since 1977, there have been 8 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings and 186 arsons and thousands of other incidents, including vandalism, according to the National Abortion Foundation, a trade group for abortion providers.

In December 1994, two receptionists were murdered at Planned Parenthood clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts, and five other people were wounded. The convicted gunman, John Salvi, was later found dead in prison of an apparent suicide.

Before Friday, the most recent killing happened in 2009 in a Wichita, Kansas, church where Dr. George Tiller[2], who performed late-term abortions, was slain while serving as an usher. He had been shot in a previous attack years earlier.

Planned Parenthood clinics in New Hampshire[3], Southern California and Washington have been targeted by vandals and arsonists since a new wave of anti-abortion protests began this summer.

WHY HAS PLANNED PARENTHOOD FACED RENEWED CRITICISM?

The campaign against Planned Parenthood has intensified since July, when anti-abortion activists who posed as representatives of a biomedical firm began releasing a series of undercover videos.

They sought to negotiate the purchase of fetal organs from Planned Parenthood personnel. Planned Parenthood has denied seeking any payments beyond legally permitted reimbursement of the costs for donating the organs to researchers.

Citing the videos, Republicans in Congress have been seeking to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and the organization has been investigated by several GOP-led committees. Additionally, several states where Republicans hold power have sought to block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

The efforts have shown no sign of easing. Yet to move into high gear is a recently formed House investigative committee, led by some of the most staunch abortion opponents in Congress, which is expected to focus its work on Planned Parenthood.

WHAT IMPACT HAVE THE VIDEOS HAD AT COLORADO CLINICS?

One of the videos released by the California-based Center for Medical Progress showed Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president of Denver-based Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, discussing prices of aborted fetal remains, the center said. Planned Parenthood said that video and the others were misleading and deceptively edited.

Since the videos began airing, threats against abortion clinics nationwide have spiked, said Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.

“The noise level out there about Planned Parenthood has been high, and it’s been hateful the last several months,” said Vicki Cowart, CEO and president of the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

There have been more protesters targeting Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which includes the Colorado Springs clinic, and one of its doctors has been the subject of death threats, Saporta said.

WHAT KIND OF SECURITY DOES THE COLORADO SPRINGS CLINIC HAVE?

The gunman broke into the clinic after a security guard had finished his shift, but staff followed safety plans perfectly, which probably saved many lives, Cowart said.

A receptionist, who heard gunfire outside the building Friday, alerted others to keep away. The suspect broke in to the reception area, but was stopped by a locked door leading to the main part of the clinic.

Staff followed protocol to hide in locked rooms in the center of the clinic during a standoff that lasted about five hours.

The facility had live security cameras that allowed Planned Parenthood to share information with police about what was happening inside.

Cowart dismissed the suggestion of installing metal detectors at the clinic, saying: “Nobody deserves to walk through a metal detector to access health care.”

Crary reported from New York.

References

  1. ^ Planned Parenthood (abcnews.go.com)
  2. ^ George Tiller (abcnews.go.com)
  3. ^ New Hampshire (abcnews.go.com)

Alleged Colorado gunman was adrift and alienated

BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. To neighbors, it looked like a moonshine shack, a little yellow wooden hut, with overgrown weeds and no indoor plumbing, banged together by its owner, Robert Lewis Dear Jr.

And whenever Dear came to stay in his shack in the woods, the neighbors in Anderson Acres, a community of about seven houses along a steep, gravel road here, kept their kids inside.

He was the kind of person you had to watch out for, one neighbor said. He was a very weird individual. It s hard to explain, but he had a weird look in his eye most of the time. Dear, 57, the man in custody in connection with Friday s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, appears to have been a malcontent who drifted from place to place. In the past couple of years, in addition to the shack, he also lived in a mobile home in another town in North Carolina and a camper in Colorado, which he shared with a woman who moved with him from the East Coast.

[Slain police officer was a co-pastor, former ice-skating instructor[1]]

Some who knew him found him to be unremarkable, while others said that he seemed to be delusional and aggressive. He had a history of run-ins with neighbors and police, including arrests for cruelty to animals and being a peeping Tom. He was not convicted in either case.

It s just too devastating; it s just something you can t fathom happening, Pamela Ross, who was married to Dear nearly 20 years ago, said in a brief interview Saturday. She declined to comment further. Dear s problems with the law date to 1997, when his then-wife reported to police that Dear had assaulted her, according to reports filed with the Sheriff s Office in Colleton County, S.C., where Dear lived at the time. She declined to file charges against him but told police she reported the incident because she wanted something on record.

Colleton County police released reports of at least seven other episodes in which Dear, who described himself to police as a self-employed art dealer, had disputes or physical altercations with neighbors or other residents. As of Saturday evening, it was unclear if Dear had obtained a lawyer. In May 2002, a woman who lived next door to Dear in Walterboro, in Colleton County, complained to police that Dear had been making unwanted advancements toward her since she and her husband had moved in a year earlier.

The woman told police that she had seen Dear hiding in the bushes next to their house at 5:30 a.m. She heard her guard dog barking and saw Mr. Dear looking into her house.

Timeline: What we know about the shooting in Colorado Springs

In Anderson Acres, neighbors said they recognized Dear from television news coverage of Friday s shootings, in which police said he killed three people, including a police officer, and wounded nine others. They said he looked more beaten down than the last time they had seen him, and that his beard was new but that he was the same aloof, angry man they remembered.

[Motive sought in deadly Planned Parenthood shooting[2]]

He complained about everything, said another neighbor who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying that he feared for his security. He said he worked with the government, and everybody was out to get him, and he knew the secrets of the U.S.A. He said, Nobody touch me, because I ve got enough information to put the whole U.S. of A in danger. It was very crazy. Dear lived in a mobile home in Swannanoa, N.C., until about a year ago. On Saturday, the trailer appeared vacant, dilapidated and filthy. A Volkswagen Beetle was left rusting in front yard, along with an RV covered in mold. A small wooden shed sat rotting, filled with large cans of beans, corn and other food. A decaying mattress and sofa sat in the back yard. A hand-painted sign said the property is for sale for $53,000.

Dear was extremely reclusive, according to his next-door neighbor Robert Adams, 64. Adams recalls having just two conversations with Dear over the five years that Dear lived there.

He was a good neighbor in that he stayed almost completely to himself, said Adams. FBI agents from the bureau s Charlotte office arrived at the shack Saturday afternoon and began interviewing neighbors. In Colorado, police also surrounded Dear s camper in the tiny mountain town of Hartsel and shut down the road leading to it. At the Highline Caf and Salon, where a buck and raccoon were mounted on the walls, the owners said that Dear came in a couple of times a month and ate lunch and ordered tea. He didn t seem crazy though. Just like someone who wanted to be left alone, said Jamie Heffelman, who owns the saloon with her husband.

Dear moved to Colorado last year, when he bought a five-acre plot of land in Hartsel, about 40 miles west of Colorado Springs, according to Jim Anderson, the real estate agent who brokered the deal. The previous owner said that Dear paid $6,000 for the vacant land.

He said he wanted a cheap piece of land to put a camper on, Anderson said. The real estate agent said Dear arrived with a small pickup truck and paid $4,000 for a pull-behind camper that Anderson s friend was selling. Anderson said Dear set up the camper on the flat land, which has no trees, and lived there. Dear also asked Anderson if he could have his mail delivered to Anderson s address. He came by a couple of times in the past year to pick up letters, which were mainly from the local county government.

Dear did nothing that seemed unusual to Anderson, and while he said he did not see Dear with a gun, many people in the area own weapons.

Out here, everybody has a gun, Anderson said. There are bears and mountain lions. Anderson said he was shaken by the news that Dear was the alleged Colorado Springs shooter. He said Dear s mug shot on TV looked far more wild-eyed than the average man he met.

Man. Wow. A shocker, Anderson said. He seemed okay to me. Just like anybody who wanted to buy a piece of land in this one-horse town. Colorado records show that Dear was registered to vote in Hartsel since at least October 2014. His party was listed as unaffiliated.

Anderson also said that Dear arrived with a woman, but he did not know her name. Colorado records show that Stephanie Michelle Bragg was registered to vote at the same address earlier this year. Her ex-husband, Michael Bragg, said she moved to Colorado with Dear about a year ago. Michael Bragg said he had two daughters, ages 19 and 15, with Stephanie Bragg, who had worked as a waitress at a Waffle House. Bragg said he believed that his ex-wife met Dear online. In Anderson Acres in North Carolina, neighbors said Dear had not been back to his mustard-yellow shack in at least a year.

On Saturday, the shack was padlocked shut, with a fading No Trespassing sign outside and piles of junk inside, visible through the windows. The front door was locked with a metal cable snaked through holes drilled through the door and door frame. Empty beer bottles and an empty dog bowl were all that was left on the worn wooden patio. An outdoor shower was set up using a bucket wedged between the house and a dirt hill. Dear had set up a makeshift system to collect rainwater from the roof, draining it through plastic piping into a plastic garbage can, which was overflowing from neglect. Neighbors said Dear bought the place about six years ago and started coming up every few days to build a plywood addition onto the side of the existing structure.

When he moved in, neighbors said they tried to welcome him, but he responded gruffly, never uttering more than a few words. And he unnerved some in this small community, made up mostly of retirees and young professionals who want a slice of the country life.

We re not isolationists, one resident said. You know how whenever someone goes crazy, the neighbors say he was so quiet and normal. That wasn t the case here. He was weird. Everyone kept an eye on him. One neighbor said he recalled an incident about five years ago when Dear fell off a motor scooter, broke his collarbone and did not get medical help. The neighbor said he could see that the bone was broken but Dear said, No, no, I don t need anything. Dear would leave two dogs abandoned and roaming through the area for days at a time, a neighbor said, and fellow neighbors complained that they had no food or water. He would leave the dogs and they would get aggressive and people were worried about their children, one neighbor said. He was really tightly wound. You could see that from the stress on his face, from the way he acted.

The neighbors recalled that Dear had a motor bike and a four-wheeled ATV that he would drive up and down the dirt road at high speeds, scaring the local kids.

I d get on him and say, Look man, you ve got to slow down a little bit, the first neighbor said. And he d speed even more, like we weren t even there. He d just try to start confrontations all the time. The neighbor said that Dear would carry a stick as he rode his trail bike, and he would slow down and try to bait dogs in the area. He also said that Dear swung the stick at his dog several times. The neighbors said that Dear s behavior seemed to change last year, and he seemed angrier.

The last time I saw him I waved and smiled. He just stared and glared back at me. It was disconcerting, one said.

The neighbors said they never saw Dear with a gun, and they never heard him speak about politics or abortion rights. Antiabortion groups were quick to denounce the shooting and distance themselves from Dear, with many activists saying they have never interacted with or heard of him.

He was just always saying, I know the U.S. is trying to kill everybody and do this and do that, said one resident here. He [said he] was an undercover [agent]. Just craziness. Just pure, right-out craziness all the time.

I m kind of glad he s put away now, he said. Sullivan and Jordan reported from Washington. Alice Crites in Washington and Danielle Paquette in Hartsel, Colo., contributed to this report.

References

  1. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)