Planned Parenthood said on Sunday that news reports that the gunman who attacked its Colorado health clinic had uttered “no more baby parts” during his arrest showed that the suspect was motivated by an anti-abortion agenda.
The remark attributed to suspect Robert Lewis Dear was an apparent reference to Planned Parenthood’s abortion activities and its role in delivering fetal tissue to medical researchers, a hot button issue in the 2016 race for the presidency.
“We now know the man responsible for the tragic shooting at PP’s health center in Colorado was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion,” the organization said on Twitter.
Conservatives have accused Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that provides a range of health services, including abortion, of illegally selling baby parts, an accusation it has strenuously denied.
Dear, a 57-year-old South Carolina native who moved to Colorado, made the remarks during his arrest after a standoff lasting several hours at the Colorado Springs clinic on Friday, NBC News and other media outlets reported, citing unnamed law enforcement authorities. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the reports.
While Dear’s reported remarks could hint at a possible motive for Friday’s rampage, NBC’s sources stressed that investigators were still not sure why the gunman launched the attack.
Authorities have steadfastly declined to discuss a motive for the attack, saying their investigation was still under way.
But Colorado Springs police on Sunday sent a tweet that said unofficial leaks could jeopardize the investigation and prosecution, without specifically mentioning the words attributed to Dear.