If you were paying attention to the news like I was, it was hard to miss the active shooter outside of a Planned Parenthood in Colorado over the Thanksgiving recess. According to The Huffington Post, the man, Robert Lewis Dear, killed three people—a tragedy and an inexcusable act of hatred.
Of course, it is immoral and unjust to senselessly take the lives of other innocent human beings, but there is something even deeper and more sinister than murder here. Mr. Dear took the lives of three people who were in a place of sanctuary—a place where people, especially women, know they will be taken care of.
According to Planned Parenthood itself, the non-profit organization has provided “high quality, affordable health care for women, men and young people, and [is] the nation’s largest provider of sex education.” They’ve done that for 98 years—and only 3 percent of their services include abortions. The organization is, above all else, a health care center for all people, but especially lower income women.
Planned Parenthood is just one of the many resources that women can turn to in times of need, when the American government doesn’t even consider their needs. But, fundamentalists like Robert Lewis Dear who ironically believe that the life of a fetus is sacred, are willing to shoot up or blow up Planned Parenthood centers for that 3 percent. Chances are that he didn’t even kill or injure someone who was getting an abortion.
The bottom line is that we need to educate the American public, so that they know about Planned Parenthood and know exactly what they do, because there seems to be a lot of confusion. The majority of their services, 42 percent (2013-14), revolve around treating and preventing STIs and STDs. Maybe if people know what the organization is really about—women’s health—it will stop being attacked by moderates, because this moderate negative attention is what spurs fundamentalists to take action.