As a reproductive rights advocate in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, I have seen firsthand how people are negatively impacted by restricted access to abortions. In my area, if someone needs to have an abortion or access to affordable reproductive healthcare, they must drive over 300 miles to the nearest clinic.
For most people, this is not an option. And with states defunding Planned Parenthoods around the country, it's becoming almost impossible for folks to get safe, affordable access to reproductive healthcare.
What's worse is that the release of heavily doctored videos by an anti-abortion group and continued rhetoric from Congress have created a culture of misinformation about Planned Parenthood. In turn, this misinformation is being used as the basis of unwarranted investigations into Planned Parenthood by a House Republican-led select committee, the sole purpose of which is to defund Planned Parenthood. Tragically, these unsubstantiated allegations are also thought to be behind the motivation of a man who shot and killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last Friday. This must stop.
Since the heavily edited and doctored videos were released, there has been a ninefold increase in incidents of harassment and violence at Planned Parenthood clinics. Clearly, there is a direct correlation between the false allegations being spread about Planned Parenthood by House Republicans and violent acts happening at Planned Parenthood clinics.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid recently said that the Republicans have created a "frenzy of hate and anger" around Planned Parenthood, and I agree. False allegations by House Republicans about Planned Parenthood have created a witch hunt culture. And as a result, Americans are losing access to affordable reproductive healthcare, and clinics are being attacked with deadly results.