Following a gunman’s assault on a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for tighter gun control and respect for women’s reproductive rights (video below , beginning at the 21:45 minute mark).
Robert Dear, a Colorado man with a reportedly long history of eccentric behavior, killed two civilians and a police officer during a standoff at a Planned Parenthood center on Nov. 27.
While the gunman’s motivations have yet to be determined, he did tell authorities “no more baby parts” during his arrest, The New Yorker reports.
During a Nov. 29 campaign stop at the New Hampshire Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Clinton warned against the GOP’s inflammatory rhetoric regarding Planned Parenthood, saying that verbally attacking the women’s health provider encourages mentally disturbed individuals to physically attack it.
“The shooting of Friday was at, as you know, a Planned Parenthood clinic, a place where lots of women get health care they need — breasts exams, STD testing, contraception and, yes, safe and legal abortions,” Clinton said.
While Planned Parenthood’s practice of providing women legal abortions has prompted fierce criticism from conservatives, only 3 percent of the the organization’s services in 2013 was related to terminating a pregnancy, according to FactCheck.org.
During her speech, Clinton also issued a challenge to the GOP to stop demonizing the healthcare organization.
“It is way past time to protect women’s health and respect women’s rights, not use them as political footballs,” the former Secretary of State said.
GOP presidential candidates have been more muted in responding to the Colorado attack, with most asking that the public wait for Dear to state his motivation before linking his assault to anti-Planned Parenthood rhetoric.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who has called Planned Parenthood “a criminal organization,” told reporters on Nov. 29 that Dear is a murderer without a political agenda, The Daily Beast reports.
“The media promptly wants to blame him [Robert Dear] on the pro-life movement when at this point there’s very little evidence to indicate that,” Cruz said, according to The Daily Beast.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, however, told reporters on Nov. 29 that “there is no question that hateful rhetoric, no matter which side it comes from, right or left, is something that is detrimental to our society," the New Yorker notes.
“I think both sides should tone down their rhetoric and engage in civil discussion,” Carson added.
Real estate mogul Donald Trump told NBC's “Meet the Press” on Nov. 29 that Dear is a “maniac” who would have gone on a rampage regardless of rhetoric.
“I think he’s a sick person,” Trump added. “And I think he was probably a person ready to go.”
Clinton concluded that her Republican opponents will accuse her of playing gender politics on the issue of Planned Parenthood.
“I know when I talk like this, some people, especially of the Republican persuasion, say I’m playing the gender card,” she said in her speech. “Well, if talking about women’s health, equal pay, paid family leave, and affordable child care is playing the gender card, deal me in.”