Following the release of fraudulent videos from the Center of Medical Progress, a wave of anti-abortion protests nationwide and an aggressive legislative attack on Planned Parenthood, a fire at a reproductive health clinic near Spokane, Washington has been determined an arson.
According to the Pullman Fire Department, flames consumed the Planned Parenthood Center in Pullman in the early morning hours last Friday and burned for nearly three hours. The clinic, which did not provide abortion services, sustained extensive damage, rendering the facility unusable for at least a month. No one was injured.
The Pullman arson is the latest example of anti-abortion extremism inflicted upon Planned Parenthood facilities and independent women’s reproductive health care providers nationwide. Last month, two Louisiana clinics suffered property damage when a unidentified perpetrator doused the construction site of a New Orleans Planned Parenthood with gasoline while in nearby Metairie, a suspect allegedly removed signage from a local abortion clinic. In March, a trespasser destroyed Mississippi’s Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s security cameras and power generator.
“We urge federal law enforcement to deploy the resources at their disposal to investigate not only this latest act of violence, but also, but also the Center for Medical Progress,” said Feminist Majority Foundation National Clinic Access Project director duVergne Gaines. “These deceitful videos spread misinformation, demonize Planned Parenthood and all abortion providers, and inspire violent threats and action.”
Republicans, seizing on the opportunity presented in the wake of the videos’ release, have rushed to introduce new legislation on both the state and federal levels to restrict women’s health care options, including eliminating funding to Planned Parenthood. Last month, several states including Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Utah and New Hampshire attempted to cutting funding to Planned Parenthood entirely. This week, Rep. Mick Mulvany (R-S.C.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) circulated separate letters urging lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood or face government shutdown over the federal budget negotiations.
On Wednesday, the House judiciary committee will hold the first in a series of congressional hearings deceptively entitled “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider,” in the hopes of dismantling Planned Parenthood and stirring up even more anti-abortion sentiment. The hearing, in which Planned Parenthood was not allowed to testify, will feature “experts on the issues surrounding the alleged acts of Planned Parenthood,” including two “abortion survivors” and National Right to Life lawyer James Bopp, with no acknowledgement of the Center for Medical Progress’ illegal “evidence”-gathering activities or the recent rash of clinic violence.
“Make no mistake, the attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on women’s health and access to abortion and birth control,” adds Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal. “We must stop these extremists, and their friends in Congress, from pushing their agenda to ban abortion and limit access to family planning and basic healthcare services for women.”
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 9/8/15; NY Times 8/18/15; Huffington Post 9/8/15; The Hill 9/4/15; The Guardian 9/9/15;