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Planned Parenthood Responds to Shooting: 'We Will Never Back Away'

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    Planned Parenthood Responds to Shooting: 'We Will Never Back Away'
    The Gazette via AP
    A woman is escorted by emergency personnel after reports of a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov, 27, 2015, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    Even before the deadly standoff at a Colorado Planned Parenthood was over, messages of support poured in for the health care provider, which itself released a message that was defiant in the face of violence.

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted "Today and every day, we #StandWithPP" after shooting broke out at the health center in Colorado Springs, in which police said a gunman killed three people and wounded nine before giving himself up at about 7 p.m. ET.

    Supermodel Chrissy Teigen asked her million Twitter followers to follow her lead and donate to the organization.

    It wasn't immediately clear if Planned Parenthood was the target of an attack or if gunfire erupted there for another reason. Authorities repeatedly said Friday it was too early to determine a motive or whether the shooter had any connection to Planned Parenthood.

    "We don't have any information on this individual's mentality, or his ideas or ideology," Colorado Springs Police Lt. Catherine Buckley said.

    But Planned Parenthood has been attacked before — a clinic was set on fire this year in Washington State – and has long been the subject of protests for providing women with access to abortions.

    The head of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains released a statement on the national organization's website Friday afternoon saying that the group will never stop doing its work.

    "We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country," President and CEO Vicki Cowart said. "We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust." 

    Planned Parenthood's national CEO, Cecile Richards, said she was grateful for officers' "heroism in helping to protect all women, men and young people as they access basic health care in this country.”

    The health care provider has come under especially intense criticism since July, when a series of video first surfaced purporting to show Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.

    Those videos, which Planned Parenthood says are misleading and have been discredited, have become a flashpoint in the presidential election. The House of Representatives voted last month to establish a panel to investigate the organization.

    Asked on CNN Friday about Cowart's comment about "extremists," Rep. Adam Kizinger, R-Ill., said that if the suspected gunman, whom he called "psychotic," did target Planned Parenthood, "he has taken a legitimate disagreement with the practice and turned it into an evil response."

    He also said physical attacks on the organization isn't indicative of how people who object over some Planned Parenthood practices feel.

    The president of pro-life advocacy group Family Research Council, itself the target of a gunman in a 2011 attack, said the group condemns the violence and was praying for those hurt in the attack.

    "Only through peaceful means – not violence – can we truly become a nation that once again values all human life, born and unborn," Tony Perkins said in a statement.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.