Planned Parenthood scrutinizes security after Colo. shooting

After a gunman's deadly attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Nov. 27, some of the reproductive health organization's affiliates say they will scrutinize their security measures, according to Reuters.

Three people were killed and nine injured when 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear opened fire in the Colorado Springs facility. Planned Parenthood had already been on alert against threats of violence. Criticism over how Planned Parenthood handles the tissue of aborted fetuses used for medical research heightened safety awareness, although anti-abortion extremists have carried out acts of arson, bombings and shootings on abortion providers since the Supreme Court legalized the procedure in 1973, according to the report.

Now, the nonprofit organization must reconcile the need to maintain a welcoming environment for patients while mitigating the risk of violence.

"We don't want to militarize our health centers," said Stephanie Kight, CEO for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, according to Reuters. "We're trying to take a common sense approach to our security and not turn every single facility into a fortress."

A communications executive at Planned Parenthood Federation of America said the organization would not disclose specific safety measures, but noted some health centers have "increased patrols from dedicated security guards, while others have upgraded their monitoring systems," according to Reuters.

Ms. Kight said she has reminded her staff to be informed in Planned Parenthood's safety protocols. The affiliate's 20 health centers in Ohio feature double vestibules and secured doors to control who can enter, according to Reuters. Some facilities have "safe rooms" where staff could be locked in but still have access to outside communication. The next step is to conduct a formal security audit to determine if more stringent security measures are needed.          

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