I stand with Planned Parenthood

How Colorado Springs shooting made me an even bigger supporter

When I first saw Planned Parenthood was one of Twitter’s trending topics on Nov. 27, I rolled my eyes. What now?

I was used to seeing the much-talked-about organization frequent the top-20 trending list, especially since it has been a common topic among the presidential candidate hopefuls. But I quickly went from nonchalantly scrolling through the tweets to reading in horror as I realized the enormity of the situation: a gunman was terrorizing a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

That wasn’t the first time a Planned Parenthood has been targeted. In 1994, a man went to two separate Planned Parenthood locations in Massachusetts and killed two people and wounded five. In 2012, a small bomb was planted outside of a Wisconsin Planned Parenthood and went off, causing a small fire and damage to the building.

Not only was I horrified by the action itself, I was also horrified at the reactions I saw. Twitter is a platform that allows anyone to tweet their stream of consciousness – as long as it’s confined within 140 characters. I don’t always agree with how people choose to spend those 140 characters.

Rather than seeing a pattern of people condemning the attacks – attacks in which three people were murdered – I saw many individuals tweeting about how the individuals at the Planned Parenthood that day got what they deserved.

Yes, a woman can go to Planned Parenthood to terminate a pregnancy. However, compared to all of the other services offered by Planned Parenthood, like cancer screening or STD testing, abortions are a very small part of what Planned Parenthood does. In fact, abortions only count for 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.

On Thursday, the Senate voted to defund Planned Parenthood. A week after a shooting occurs at a Planned Parenthood location, the Senate’s main goal is to take away the company’s government funding.

According to NPR, the organization receives $500 million per year from government funding, but none of that funding is actually allowed to go toward abortions.

But forget about the fact that Planned Parenthood performs abortions. When we think of the organization, our first thought should be that it is one of the few low-cost healthcare facilities that makes it easy for those who may be struggling to make ends meet to have access to treatment they may not normally be able to afford.

According to Planned Parenthood’s website, the organization “provides nearly 400,000 Pap tests and nearly 500,000 breast exams each year.” It also provides treatment for STDs, including HIV testing.

While these facts are accessible to the general public, there are so many people who either aren’t aware of them or choose not to believe them. And unfortunately, those in a position of power – such as some who are running for a presidential nomination – give false information about Planned Parenthood to the trusting public.

For anyone to justify the heinous act of a gunman killing an Iraq war veteran, a police officer and a mother of two because abortions are part of the services offered at Planned Parenthood organizations is disgusting. What that sentiment truly means is that “pro-life” only extends so far.

Rather than supporting a murderer by tweeting how he was a “brave hero” who tried to put a stop to the killing of “a million babies” each year by Planned Parenthood – something a person actually tweeted – we should support any organization, including Planned Parenthood, that allows anyone, no matter their gender, affordable healthcare.

Marlee Tuskes is a news desk editor and can be reached at marlee.tuskes@ubspectrum.com. Follow her on Twitter at @marleeutskes5.