COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Christian Examiner) – Major pro-life leaders were unanimous Friday night in condemning a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., earlier in the day that left at least three dead -- including a police officer -- and multiple others injured.
The alleged shooter, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 59, by The Gazette newspaper, was taken into custody, although a motive was not yet known.
Pro-life and pro-choice groups acknowledged that they didn't know if the shooter was driven by his views on abortion, although Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains did spark on a debate on social media by saying that "we share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country."
The "extremists" term wasn't defined.
"We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust," the statement read.
Nationwide, Planned Parenthood provides more abortions than any other organization.
National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) President Carol Tobias was quick to speak out against the shooting.
"National Right to Life, which represents 50 state affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, unequivocally condemns unlawful activities and acts of violence regardless of motivation," Tobias said. "The pro-life movement works to protect the right to life and increase respect for human life. The unlawful use of violence is directly contrary to that goal."
An accompanying NRLC statement said the group "has always been involved in peaceful, legal activities to protect human lives threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia."
"We always have and will continue to oppose any form of violence to fight the violence of abortion," NRLC said. "NRLC has had a policy of forbidding violence or illegal activity by its staff, directors, officers, affiliated state organizations, and chapters. NRLC's sole purpose is to protect innocent human life."
Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, tweeted, "Vigilante violence at abortion facilities is immoral & condemned by Christians. We overcome evil with good, not with more evil (Rom 12:21)."
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins condemned the shooting, noting that FRC's building in recent years also was the target of a shooter.
"While the investigation into the shooting at the Planned Parenthood center continues, regardless of what the motive is determined to be, we strongly condemn this violence," Perkins said. "As the target of domestic terrorism inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the staff of the Family Research Council empathize with all the victims of this violence. All of us at the Family Research Council join with the pro-life movement in praying for the injured officers and victims of these deplorable acts.
"Only through peaceful means – not violence -- can we truly become a nation that once again values all human life, born and unborn," Perkins added.
Lila Grace Rose, president of Live Action, sent out a series of Tweets condemning the violence.
"Being pro-life is to uphold the preciousness of all human beings - born & preborn. Praying for those hurt at Planned Parenthood in Colorado," she wrote. "We condemn violence against any human being, whether abortionists, @PPact workers, patients, or preborn babies. Every life is precious."
Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, whose organization is situated in Colorado Springs, also spoke out.
"Today's violence at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility, just miles from our ministry headquarters, is tragic and deplorable. It is to be condemned," Daly said. "Our hearts break for the families of the three individuals killed, a University of Colorado police officer and two civilians. As a community, we share in their sorrow and in their grief. I ask that you please join me in praying for all victims and law enforcement personnel affected by this tragedy."