'Acts of terrorism' common at Planned Parenthood


A shooting spree at a family planning centre in the US which left three people dead is the most recent in a disturbingly common spate of attacks, a former Planned Parenthood employee says.

Robert Lewis Dear, 57, opened fire in the Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic last Friday (local time), killing three and leaving nine wounded.

Dear has been charged with first-degree murder and faces another hearing on December 9, where formal charges will be filed.

According to witnesses the attack was motivated by "opposition to safe and legal abortions," Vicki Cowart, head of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains says.

Writer and former Planned Parenthood employee Bryn Greenwood says the shooting spree was just the most recent in what she calls "acts of terrorism" on the healthcare clinics.

In a series of posts on Twitter she describes the numerous acts of violence she was subjected to in the three-year period she worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas.

Cherry bombs had been left on the doorsteps while gasoline had been poured under the doors and ignited four times.

Arson attacks twice forced the healthcare centre to evacuate. When butyric acid was poured under the doors and into the ventilation systems the centre also had to be evacuated, an event Ms Greenwood says happened "so many times I lost count".

Windows were shot out three times in drive-by shootings. Ms Greenwood says they received hundreds of calls threatening to burn down the clinic and to kill the employees.

According to Ms Greenwood, the Planned Parenthood clinic she worked in didn't even offer abortions.

While abortion services are provided in many Planned Parenthood centres across the US, where they remain hugely controversial, Planned Parenthood also provides free or low-cost healthcare and education. When the centres are targeted the people who are affected the most are those already at a disadvantage, Ms Greenwood says.

Ms Greenwood worked at Planned Parenthood between 1996-1999 and says it's important to describe the attacks as terrorism.

"The goal was to make us afraid to come to work, to make us quit, to make us close the clinic," she tweeted. "That's terrorism. That's how terrorism works."

Ms Greenwood says she was surprised violent opposition to the family planning centres was still frequent.

"I somehow expected that in 2015 we wouldn't still be in the same place."

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