In recognition of Women’s History Month, Key Elements Group has covered issues facing women and the nonprofits that fight for greater gender equality.

This past year has seen an upsurge in violence directed toward nonprofit professionals working with and for women, especially those employed by the nonprofit health organization Planned Parenthood. In November of 2015, a gunman stormed one of the nonprofit’s clinics located in Colorado Springs, killing three. In the months of July and August 2015 alone, there were 849 acts of vandalism committed against Planned Parenthood clinics across the United States.

Much of the vitriol directed against the organization  – which provides invaluable health services to underserved women, including cancer screenings – stems from the exaggerated discourse revolving around its services. Though abortion accounts for a small fraction of the organization’s work, antichoice activists have reduced Planned Parenthood to this one particular service. The widely discredited video series released by the Center for Medical Progress (which recently came under investigation in Texas), were catalysts for violent acts directed toward Planned Parenthood. The Colorado gunman cited the heavily edited and doctored video as a primary inspiration for his murders.

Recent non-violent actions by antichoice activists and legislators have also stoked angry sentiment against the organization. As we discussed in a post yesterday, laws across the nation are effectively shutting down nonprofit clinics that provide safe access to abortions.

Governor John Kasich of Ohio recently signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood at the behest of antichoice voices in his home state, and we are already seeing the effects.

A clinic run by the organization in Columbus, Ohio was defaced with the phrase “SATAN DEN OF BABYKILLERS GOD SEE ALLLL (sic) Mark 9:14” written in red lettering. The timing is certainly no coincidence. As the women’s health nonprofit was targeted by lawmakers due to dubious accusations, vigilante action followed course, further endangering the lives of workers who go out on the line for women on a daily basis.

The danger posed to Planned Parenthood and its staff across the country is a reminder of the courage of many nonprofit workers fighting at the margins for greater equality and better lives for the disenfranchised.

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