Planned Parenthood opens L.A.-area clinic days after Colorado attack

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 01, 2015 3:33 PM

By John Russell

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (Reuters) - Four days after a deadly shooting at one of its clinics in Colorado, Planned Parenthood opened a new health center on Tuesday in West Hollywood, just outside Los Angeles.

Sue Dunlap, president and chief executive for Planned Parenthood's Los Angeles-area chapter, said the inauguration ceremony was aimed in part at demonstrating the organization's commitment to keeping its doors open.

The new facility offers the full range of reproductive health care that Planned Parenthood provides in communities across the United States, including gynecological and breast exams, testing for sexually transmitted disease, birth control and abortion services.

The latest clinic will also begin offering medications aimed at lowering HIV infections, a service of special importance to West Hollywood's large gay community.

Many of the same services, including abortion, are provided at the 23 health clinics Planned Parenthood operates in Colorado, including one stormed by a gunman in Colorado Springs last Friday in a five-hour siege in which three people died and nine others were wounded.

Authorities have declined to say publicly whether the suspect, who has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and other offenses, was motivated by anti-abortion sentiments.

But a number of news media outlets have reported that the suspect uttered the phrase "no more baby parts" in rambling statements to investigators following his arrest.

Planned Parenthood officials say a growing climate of rancor surrounding abortion has set the stage for such violence.

The organization has come under heightened antagonism from religious and political conservatives since the release months ago of secretly recorded videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue. The controversy has led Republicans in Congress to push for an end to federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

Supporters have said the videos in question were produced to distort the issue of fetal-tissue donations made by the group for scientific research, and the legitimate reimbursements Planned Parenthood receives to cover the costs of those donations.

Dunlop said Planned Parenthood officials are doing their best to keep their network of health clinics open around the country, despite uncertainty over the future of continued federal support.

The setting for the new center, the 20th such facility opened by Planned Parenthood within Los Angeles County, could not be more different from Colorado Springs, a hub for conservative Christian groups staunchly opposed to abortion.

There were no protestors outside the West Hollywood clinic on Tuesday.

(Reporting by John Russell; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Andrew Hay)