Security tight as Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood reopens after mass shooting

Planned Parenthood reopens in Colorado Springs

The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, shut down after the Nov. 27 mass shooting, will open its doors for business once again next week, with limited space, under a limited schedule and with more “robust security,” said Vicki Cowart, head of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, in a statement.

The clinic was heavily damaged when Robert Lewis Dear opened fire on Nov. 27. In court in December, Dear claimed he attacked the clinic to stop it from selling baby body parts, a possible reference to a discredited series of videos made by the Center for Medical Progress that claimed Planned Parenthood was illegally trafficking in fetal tissue.

The anti-abortion Center’s director, David Daleiden, and an associate, Sandra Merritt, were indicted last month by a Texas grand jury for using false IDs and for attempting to purchase fetal tissue. In an ironic twist, Daleiden is charged with the same crime he accused Planned Parenthood of committing.

Last week, a California judge ordered the Center to halt all distribution of the videos until lawsuits over the footage are wrapped up. Twelve states, including Texas and Indiana, have investigated Planned Parenthood because of the videos. None has concluded the health organization committed a crime.

Dear is currently in the custody of the state mental hospital in Pueblo, ordered there in December for a competency hearing to determine if he can conduct his own legal defense. He faces 179 charges, including three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of CU-Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey; Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two; and military veteran Ke’Arre Marcell.

According to Cowart’s statement, the building is still being repaired, and it will be several months before it is back to full capacity.


Photo credit: Progress Ohio, Creative Commons, Flickr

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.