The Sheer Number Of Threats Planned Parenthood Employees Face Proves They Are Heroes

The mass shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood isn’t the start of something; it’s merely the latest in a string of violent threats and action against women’s care facilities that stretches back for decades. For the men and women who work in Planned Parenthood, or in other facilities that provide abortions, this tragedy is nothing new. It may explain why, while the rest of us were left in shock by the massacre, the employees of abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood offices around the country were heading into work with no hesitation.

NARAL Colorado, the state branch of the national lobbying group for abortion rights, highlighted the courageous actions of those who work in Planned Parenthood and their incredibly brave response to a terrifying attack.

And indeed, with heavy hearts, and in many cases heightened security measures, on Saturday Planned Parenthood offices around the country opened their doors to women in need like they have always done. It was an act of defiance, as much as it was a sense of duty. Shutting down would be giving in. And Planned Parenthood has never blinked in the face of terror.

It may seem inconceivable that a women’s health organization would be the recipient of so much hate and threats, but here we are. The statistics paint a disturbing picture.

Bustle:

In the first place, abortion clinics and the doctors and nurses who staff them have been the targets of domestic terrorist incidents for years. Since 1993, eight different doctors have been murdered, the most recent example being Dr. George Tiller of Kansas, who was fatally shot by anti-abortion zealot Scott Roeder in 2008. And according to the National Abortion Federation, more than 200 incidents of bombing or arson have occurred at clinics across the country since 1976. In simplest terms, the violent fringe of the American anti-abortion movement has been in force for decades, bolstered by ostensibly credible organizations with histories of violent radicalism.

However, recently things have gotten worse.

Thanks to a series of fraudulent videos released by a pro-life activist group, Planned Parenthood became the face of abortion in the United States, and increasingly a target of dangerous threats by misled anti-choice zealots who never got the memo that the videos they were told showed Planned Parenthood “selling” baby parts was an utter and complete lie. In fact, in the months since the videos were debunked, Republican lawmakers have only grown louder in insisting that they were true. Right down the road from the site of Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood lives Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, one of the videos’ most active promoters. In August – long after the videos were exposed as frauds – he was still busy peddling the lies.

It is shocking that despite Colorado being the epicenter of a national outcry over the trafficking of aborted baby body parts for profit, our state officials, who have been entrusted with the responsibility to ensure compliance with state law, have chosen to relinquish their duty.

In those same months, at least four Planned Parenthood clinics were burned to the ground. Others were damaged or vandalized.

The National Abortion Federation’s president is no stranger to anti-abortion violence, but even she concedes that the recent hysteria is altogether more dangerous.

“In my 20 years at NAF, I have never seen such a volume, intensity and escalation of hate speech, threats and criminal activity, and we would like to prevent a serious violent act from occurring,” she told The Huffington Post in an interview. “We have enlisted law enforcement’s help.”

And as if to debunk the laughable premise that the actions of the shooter in Colorado Springs was the result of a crazed “lone wolf” with no sympathy in the larger conservative movement, conservatives took to social media to applaud his murders. They didn’t even try to hide their glee.

Here’s one disturbingly common sentiment:

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And yet, despite all of this violence and hatred, the doctors and nurses who provide care to millions of women in Planned Parenthood clinics around the country still went into work today.

If the definition of courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the ability to take action in the face of fear, then these men and women are made of stronger stuff than most. And unlike other people who are rightfully called brave — soldiers and police officers — who bring courage to their jobs every day, these doctors and nurses aren’t regularly applauded. There are no parades or medals. They aren’t greeted at airports with hugs and thank yous. In fact, a large portion of the country slanders them, attacks them, posts their addresses on pro-life websites and sends them death threats in the mail. They show up to work because they deeply care about what they are doing, and they showed up to work today because they weren’t going to let a coward with a rifle stop them from helping.

They are heroes. If you would like to support them, consider donating to Planned Parenthood here.

Feature image via FOX6 screenshot