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Why All Parents Should Stand With Planned Parenthood

Photograph by Getty Images

I live in Colorado and I am a mother.

The shooting at Planned Parenthood last week left me shocked and terrified at the country in which I am going to be raising my son. A country where families can't get health services without the fear of being gunned down. I find it horrifying that a health care center was turned into a massacre. It's horrifying that people do terrible things and I want the world to be a different place for my son.

Violence against clinics that provide abortion services has been escalating since a series of anti-abortion videos that were highly edited and very misleading, went viral this past July. The gunman murdered three innocent people: a stay-at-home mom, an Iraq war veteran and father of two, and a policeman, also father of two. Six children have lost a parent because one deranged person was on a mission to stop something that wasn't even real. Why would he do such a thing?

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Colorado state Rep. JoAnn Windholz issued a statement on the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood attack where she went on to blame Planned Parenthood for the attack, "The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any Planned Parenthood facility is Planned Parenthood themselves. Violence begets violence. So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS." I find it incredibly disturbing that an elected official in my state is citing propaganda videos as truth and justification for the murder of these people.

I am a supporter of Planned Parenthood. I have used Planned Parenthood's services, like so many other women, for my health. I went to Planned Parenthood for affordable Pap smears and birth control when I had no health insurance. And while I've never had an abortion, having a child has only deepened my conviction around the issue of choice for women. Having a child is not a decision that should be made lightly and Planned Parenthood provides health services for families and helps them make the decisions that are best for their family.

I chose to have a child and I want to teach my son to stand up against violence as a means to express a viewpoint

Mark Zuckerberg's "Dear Max" letter penned to his newborn daughter caught my eye today as I was scrolling through Facebook. " Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today." He and his wife announced they will be giving 99 percent of their shares from Facebook currently valued at at about $45 billion throughout their lifetime to achieve their mission because they feel they have "a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation."

And he's right—we do have a moral responsibility. We have to educate and make sure that we are teaching our children tolerance for different viewpoints and empathy and understanding for others who do not have the same beliefs. We must ask ourselves how could the Planned Parenthood shooting have been prevented? What can we do to stop these senseless killings?

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I chose to have a child and I want to teach my son to stand up against violence as a means to express a viewpoint. I want him to be educated so he will be a critical thinker that can understand the difference between fact and fiction. I want him to be a peaceful person and to understand that what other people choose to do with their bodies is not something he should ever want to control.

I want to be a light for him in the darkest times and I want him to stand up for women's rights and be a tolerant person. I don't need to be an advocate for abortion to support Planned Parenthood, but I stand with Planned Parenthood because they do important work and provide necessary care. I stand with Planned Parenthood because I am against violence and I want a better, more tolerant and above all, a safer world for my son and you should, too.

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