Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, spoke to NPR about the Black Friday domestic terrorist attack in Colorado Springs, Colorado and other security threats. She also appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC expressing the same concerns.
Richards related the anti-abortion aggression to the dehumanization of women:
“But, clearly, we’re concerned, as I think is the rest of America, about the increased sort of hateful rhetoric and harassment and intimidation of both doctors and women who are both providing health care and getting health care in America. It’s really un- American. It’s been hard to see the kind of dehumanization of both health care providers and, of course, women who are simply looking for health care.”
In the past four months, there has been a dramatic increase of aggressive behavior to all Planned Parenthoods across the country:
“There’s been an incredible escalation of harassment and intimidation against Planned Parenthood health centers and also other women’s health clinics in America. I think that, you know – the latest report I saw that since 2010, there’s been a doubling of these kinds of activities. So we take it extremely seriously and, of course, the health care and safety of our patients and our employees is our biggest concern.”
Richards addresses the direct correlation she sees between ugly Republican presidential candidate rhetoric and its impact:
“I think it’s important to recognize that words matter. And when you use this kind of hateful rhetoric, whether you’re a politician or whether you’re in elected office or whether you’re an opposition group, this kind of rhetoric towards doctors and women seeking health care has real impact. And I think folks should think carefully about what they say and how they treat women and women’s ability to access care in America. I just – it’s alarming to see this kind of rhetoric and these kinds of smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients continue.”
Planned Parenthood already has a muscular security system in place, and clearly the organization is analyzing last week’s attack to further increase that security.
“We have very strong security measures in place and always have at our health centers. And, as you may know – or even over the weekend, thousands of women accessed Planned Parenthood for a whole variety of health care. You know, our commitment at Planned Parenthood is our doors stay open. And they did this weekend as well.”
Going to the doctor should not be a death march.