The shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs that left three dead was ‘a crime against women’, the Attorney General has said.
Loretta Lynch said the attack was a violation of women’s right to healthcare as Planned Parenthood said the assault was ‘politically motivated’.
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, allegedly killed three people including a cop on Friday before surrendering to the police.
The family planning clinic said witnesses believed the gunman was motivated by his opposition to abortion and was heard saying ‘no more baby parts’ after his arrest, according to witnesses.
Police are yet to confirm the motive for the shooting, but there is a possibility Dear could be charged with federal hate crimes.
A wave of demonstrations in support of the organization swept across the nation on Saturday, with demonstrations and candlelit vigils in Colorado and New York.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch released a statement on Saturday evening, describing the attack as ‘not only a crime against the Colorado Springs community, but a crime against women receiving healthcare services at Planned Parenthood, law enforcement seeking to protect and serve, and other innocent people’.
This was backed up by the local Planned Parenthood branch, which said the shooting was ‘motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion’.
Dear is due to be arraigned on Monday over the three deaths at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.
The 6ft 4in divorcee is accused of murdering six-year police veteran and 44-year-old part-time pastor Garrett Swasey and two civilians who have yet to be named.
Dear was reported to have had an assault rifle, possibly an AK-47.
Attorney General Lynch said: ‘This unconscionable attack was not only a crime against the Colorado Springs community, but a crime against women receiving healthcare services at Planned Parenthood, law enforcement seeking to protect and serve, and other innocent people.
‘It was also an assault on the rule of law, and an attack on all Americans’ right to safety and security.’
The head of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains Vicki Cowart released a statement, which said: ‘Today, we are learning that eyewitnesses confirm that the man who will be charged with the tragic and senseless shooting that resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to nine others at Planned Parenthood’s health center in Colorado Springs was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion.
‘This is an appalling act of violence targeting access to health care and terrorizing skilled and dedicated health care professionals.’
The attack thrust the clinic to the center of the ongoing debate over Planned Parenthood, which was reignited in July when anti-abortion activists released undercover video they said showed the organization’s personnel negotiating the sale of fetal organs.
Planned Parenthood has denied seeking any payments beyond legally permitted reimbursement costs for donating the organs to researchers. Despite the denial, the National Abortion Federation says it has since seen a rise in threats at clinics nationwide.
Since the shooting, the Colorado Springs community has banded together to hold vigils for the victims of Friday’s attack.
Read more: DailyMail.co.uk