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Planned Parenthood: Long a lightning rod in US culture wars


The Associated Press

Hope Chapel members pray before the congregation’s first service since the death of one of their elders, Garrett Swasey, in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. Swasey, a 44-year-old police officer at the University of Colorado, was killed during Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. (Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP) MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Associated Press

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By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — As a longtime defender of abortion rights and comprehensive sex education, Planned Parenthood deals daily with some of America’s most contentious issues. One consequence: verbal attacks of an intensity faced by few other organizations in the nation.

Planned Parenthood’s supporters say the vilification has gone too far. Even as a police investigation continues, they suggest the vitriolic rhetoric has raised the threat of violence, such as Friday’s deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Eric Ferrero, a Planned Parenthood national spokesman, said security at the organization’s facilities has been tightened in recent months, including an increase in patrols and upgrading of monitoring systems. He credited security training of the clinic staff in Colorado Springs for helping minimize the casualties there; a policeman and two civilians were killed.

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