DENVER (CN) - A Colorado lawmaker says Planned Parenthood is "the real culprit" in the mass shooting that killed three people and injured nine at its Colorado Springs clinic, and called Planned Parenthood "the true instigator of this violence."
State Rep. JoAnn Windholz represents Colorado's 30th state House District, based in Brighton, northeast of Denver. A first-term Republican, she says on her home Web page that she has a master's degree in nonprofit management.
Politicians nationwide, from the president on down, have refrained from directly attributing the Nov. 27 murders at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood office to increasingly heated anti-abortion rhetoric. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called it " domestic terrorism ," saying the killings were meant ""to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion." But few officeholders followed.
Robert Dear, 57, faces three charges of first-degree murder, for killing a University of Colorado police officer, an Iraq war veteran and a woman who was at the clinic to support a friend.
Planned Parenthood officials and others have connected the dots, and called the murders terrorism, as Hickenlooper did. But Windholz is the first lawmaker to so openly, and roundly condemn Planned Parenthood itself.
In a 244-word statement she posted on her Facebook page Tuesday, Windholz blamed birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger for starting a "war on women." Sanger (1879-1966), a nurse, opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States, in 1916, for which she was arrested, for distributing information about contraception. She founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which eventually evolved into Planned Parenthood.
Here is Windholz's Facebook post, which has been quoted in toto by several Colorado news outlets.
"Violence - Where it starts.
"The freedoms we enjoy in the United States include those that were made up to fit the audience and unsubstantiated numerical support, specifically the right to an abortion. When a violent act happens at a Planned Parenthood (pph) facility (most recent in Colorado Springs) the left goes on 'auto-pilot' blaming everyone insight when they should be looking in a mirror. Free Speech has brought to light the insidious selling of baby body parts (pph has no shame). These facts and overall mission of the abortion industry would easily send anyone over the hill who wasn't rational.
"The 'war on women' is what pph began with Margaret Sanger and it has turned into a war on the family, especially children. It has changed children from a blessing to a commodity making it very hard to consider ourselves to be a civilized respectful rational society.
"Violence is never the answer but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit. The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any pph facility, is pph themselves. "Violence begets violence. So pph, YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS. My question is, if abortions were free at pph, how long would they stay in business? Pro-Life organizations offer their caring services saving women and children for free every day and they clean up the mess that pph leaves behind.
"Pray Daily for the women who abort, their children, and the providers.
Windholz's Facebook page has been taken down. She did not respond to a telephone request for comment.
Windholz's "insidious selling of baby body parts" comment comes from widely publicized comments from an anti-abortion group that surreptitiously filmed Planned Parenthood officials and then released heavily edited videotapes that the group claims shows the organization plotting to profit from the practice, which would be illegal.
Planned Parenthood denied the allegations, though Republicans used the films to initiate at least three congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood; several governors announced they would kill state funding for it, and numerous lawsuits and appeals have followed.
The accused gunman in the Colorado Springs murder is said to have used the words "baby parts" to the police officers who arrested him.
On Monday six U.S. House Democrats wrote a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, asking him to disband a committee investigating Planned Parenthood, to alleviate the "toxic" national conversation.
"My humble suggestion as a congresswoman from Colorado is that we all take it down a notch," Colorado's 1st District U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette said in a new conference Tuesday, joined by the five other representatives who jointly signed the letter to Ryan.
"My humble suggestion is that we disband this committee which would serve no other purpose than fomenting the already toxic environment that we have out there."
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said Monday that the "baby parts" language "created the kind of climate that we are now seeing that leads to the harassment of doctors and violence at clinics."
At the news conference, DeGette cited 33 instances in which Republican members of one investigating committee, which include Chairwoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, have used phrases similar to "baby parts" in denouncing Planned Parenthood since July.
"In the aftermath of the attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last Friday, we strongly urge you to disband the Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce," said the letter, whose other signees include Rep. Jackie Speier of California and Rep. Bonnie Coleman of New Jersey.
Ryan said he wanted to keep the committee intact.
Other Republicans blamed Democrats for allegedly incendiary rhetoric that fuels the fires.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, one of the favorites in the quest for the Republican presidential nomination, blamed the "salivating" media.
"Every time you have some sort of violent crime or mass killing, you could almost see the media salivating, hoping desperately that the murderer happens to be a Republican so they can use it to try to paint their political enemies," Cruz told radio host Hugh Hewitt on his talk show Monday.
On Tuesday, DeGette called the congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood "just politics."
"In the last several months, we have seen an uptick in violence against women's health centers that perform abortions," DeGette said. "We cannot live in a society where women are afraid to go to their doctor.
"Rather than demonizing a leading provider of vital health services for women, Congress should be taking affirmative steps to support women and their families."
Dear is in custody at El Paso (Colorado) County Jail. His arraignment is set for Dec. 9. He could be sentenced to death if convicted of first-degree murder.
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