DENVER (AP) – A Republican state lawmaker from Denver blamed Planned Parenthood for a deadly shootout last week at a clinic in Colorado Springs.
Rep. JoAnn Windholz wrote in a Facebook posting Monday that Planned Parenthood is “the real culprit” for violence.
“Violence is never the answer, but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit,” Windholz wrote.
She called Planned Parenthood the “true instigator of this violence” because it provides abortions.
“Violence begets violence,” Windholz wrote, concluding with a plea to pray for women who get abortions and doctors who perform them.
The lawmaker confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the posting is accurate but said she had nothing more to say about it.
Three people were killed Friday when a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. The clinic is not in Windholz’s district.
In a statement after the attack, the Colorado Republican Party condemned the violence. The party reaffirmed its stance Tuesday.
“Certain comments from elected officials and candidates since the release of that (initial) statement do not reflect the views of the Colorado Republican Party,” chairman Steve House said. “We have and will continue to condemn acts of violence, regardless of the motivations behind them.”
House did not specify the elected officials or statements to which he was referring.
Windholz’s comments sparked and angry backlash from supporters of abortion rights.
“She basically tried to justify the violence against (abortion) providers and Planned Parenthood, and there is no justification,” said Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, which represents about 400 abortion providers.
Anti-abortion politicians can unwittingly incite violence, she said. “You cannot ignite a firestorm of hate and then disingenuously stand back and say you have no role in the violence,” Saporta said.
Nine other people were wounded Friday during the hourslong siege.
By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
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