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FL Planned Parenthood: Not Backing Down

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Planned Parenthood of Central and Southwest Florida CEO Barbara Zdravecky at a press conference.

Planned Parenthood clinics across Florida are staying open as normal in the wake of a Colorado shooting that left three dead and nine wounded. 

Barbara Zdravecky, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central and Southwest Florida told reporters on Monday that clinics did not close at all.  She added that the leader of one Pinellas city visited a local clinic in a show of support.
"And just a few minutes ago, I took a call from Mayor Rick Kriseman, who is from St. Petersburg, who was at our center in Pinellas County, standing there to let people know that he stands with Planned Parenthood," she said. "And he offered any assistance that he or his law enforcement agencies could provide to us."
Zdravecky said the group responded to Friday's shooting as they have over the years. She repeated a common Planned Parenthood saying. 
“These doors stay open," she said. "It means we won’t back down because of protesters, because of violent extremists, or anyone else.”
Police have not released a motive in the Colorado shooting, but multiple outlets have quoted the shooter as mentioning quote “baby parts” to police.
The affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America has operations in Kissimmee, Orlando, Sarasota, Manatee, Naples, Immokalee, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, Lakeland and Winter Haven.

“Our health centers here in Southwest and Central Florida were open on Saturday as normal and we continued on with our business in our regularly scheduled clinic hours,” Zdravecky  said. “We’ve continued to do this after every incident that Planned Parenthood has endured over the years.”

Also on Monday, a conservative group postponed a rally it had scheduled next week in Tallahassee to protest government funding for Planned Parenthood.

The Orlando-based Florida Family Policy Council, sponsor of the "Florida Taxpayer Rally to Defund Planned Parenthood," said the Dec. 7 event at the Florida Capitol will take place in the spring instead.

"This violent and horrifying act by someone who has a troubling and violent past is in complete opposition to the pro-life cause," John Stemberger, the council's president, said in a statement. "We believe that we must continue promoting the pro-life message and reiterate the concern we have for every human life, including the victims of this tragedy."

The shootings Friday killed a police officer who responded to the scene, a mother of two and an Iraq war veteran. Nine others were wounded. Robert Lewis Dear, 57, was expected appeared in court late Monday to face charges.

However, Stemberger said, "We also admonish those on the other side of this issue who are attempting to use this tragedy for their own political gains."

The Florida rally had been aimed at Gov. Rick Scott, despite his opposition to abortion, because Stemberger contends that Scott could do more to cut Planned Parenthood's funding.

Abe Aboraya is a reporter with WMFEin Orlando. WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.