Health

Ohio Planned Parenthood Clinic Vandalized, Called ‘Den Of Babykillers’

CREDIT: AP Photo, Manuel Balce Ceneta

Anti-abortion protesters at the March for Life 2016 rally in Washington, D.C., Friday, Jan. 22, 2016.

Staff of a Columbus, Ohio Planned Parenthood clinic were greeted Monday morning with a freshly painted message in red scrawled on the outside of their clinic: “SATAN DEN OF BABYKILLERS GOD SEE ALLLL Mark 9:14.”

The Bible passage cited tells a story of a demonic child who is cured by prayer — a possible metaphor for the medical providers who work inside.

Monday’s graffiti is the first major act of vandalism to a Planned Parenthood clinic since an anti-abortion extremist killed three — and wounded many others — at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in November. It joins a growing list of clinics across the country that have been the target of hateful vandalism and arson over the past year.

The Ohio clinic’s daily protesters — who yell “God loves you!” and “You have alternatives!” at patients from the sidewalk — say they had nothing to do with the weekend’s vandalism, and respect private property. But the vandalism didn’t stop them from coming out on Monday.

Planned Parenthood representatives were quick to respond to the attack, saying the attempt to “demonize Planned Parenthood and the 80,000 Ohioans who come to [Planned Parenthood] for basic health care” would only make the organization stronger.

“The individuals responsible for this act hope to send a signal that using acts of violence will intimidate health-care professionals and the women we serve,” said Nicole Evans, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. “They are wrong. Our doors will stay open.”

The act of vandalism comes exactly two weeks after Ohio Governor and presidential hopeful John Kasich signed a bill that would pull all federal funding from state Planned Parenthood clinics. Many public health advocates have argued that this bill, which cuts state financial ties with insurance companies that cover abortion, is a political stunt that will unintentionally prevent state health departments from accessing crucial funding for procedures and screenings completely unrelated to abortion. Similar to other state bills aiming to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, Ohio’s reasoning to enact this bill is entirely based on the misleading video campaign that says the women’s health organization profits off fetal tissue — a campaign that has been discredited by nearly a dozen state courts.

More broadly, Ohio is one of the states with the most stringent abortion restrictions in the country. The rapid pace of clinic closures there over the past several years is second only to Texas.