A drifter arrested over a shooting spree that killed three people and wounded nine at a family planning centre in Colorado has been charged with first-degree murder.
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, made his first court appearance via video link on Monday (local time) from the El Paso County jail in Colorado Springs, where he is being held, wearing what appeared to be a protective vest.
He stood beside his lawyer as the judge advised him of his rights and read the charge against him, and set another hearing in the case for December 9, when formal charges will be filed.
Relatives of those killed or wounded in last Friday's shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic watched the proceedings in the courtroom.
Dear faces a minimum of life in prison and a maximum sentence of the death penalty over the killings which have revived the debate in the United States over both gun control and abortion.
Investigators have yet to publicly explain Dear's motive but several US media outlets, citing law enforcement officials, are reporting that he mentioned "no more baby parts" when questioned.
The officials said Dear's "rantings" also included comments about politics and President Barack Obama.
Vicki Cowart, the head of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in a statement that witnesses to the shooting spree have confirmed Dear "was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortions."
"We've seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months," Cowart said.
"That environment breeds acts of violence."
Police officer, Garrett Swasey, 44, and two civilians, Jennifer Markovsky, 35, a mother of two who was at the clinic supporting a friend, and Ke'Arre Marcell Stewart, 29, an Iraq War veteran and father of two were killed in the rampage.
After the shooting Obama said "enough is enough," and called for tighter controls on "weapons of war."
There were also calls for better protection for organisations that provide abortions, a procedure that remains highly divisive in the United States.
Critics, many of whom seek to outlaw abortion in the United States, have falsely accused Planned Parenthood of selling fetal organs and body parts for profit, and encouraging women to have abortions in order to expand such operations.