After an armed, hours-long standoff with police outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo. late last month month, Robert L. Dear was arrested; later, during talks with law enforcement, he spoke of “baby parts.” Now, the suspected shooter has declared his own guilt in court and seems to have made clear his motivation for attacking the reproductive health clinic.
On Wednesday, Dear interrupted court proceedings to shout, “I’m guilty. There’s no trial. I’m a warrior for the babies,” according to The New York Times. Authorities have not yet publicly declared a motivation for the attack.
Dear faces 179 counts, including first-degree murder; three people were killed during the shooting rampage at the clinic, and nine others were injured.
The attack comes in the wake of now-debunked videos, released this summer by anti-abortion group the Center for Medical Progress, of Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the sale of fetal tissue. Attacks on Planned Parenthood increased in the wake of the videos, according to the FBI, though threats and violence against abortion clinics have been on the rise for the last four years. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Violence Survey, more than 50 percent of clinics have faced targeted threats—such as stalking of doctors and clinic workers, and the use of WANTED-style posters—and around 1 in 5 clinics have experienced severe violence, including blockades, arson, gunfire and bombings.
“This lethal attack [in Colorado] must be viewed with a lens also focusing on the nationwide campaign of threats and violence against abortion providers,” said Eleanor Smeal, FMF president (and publisher of Ms.) in a statement following the shooting. “We cannot wait for another deadly attack before we start asking questions about the larger campaign of terror and violence against abortion providers. Rather than jumping to the conclusion of a lone wolf, we must determine if this wolf ran in a pack. Quite simply, wolves normally run in packs and the amount of threats hardly could be carried out by one lone wolf.”