- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

House Speaker Paul Ryan mourned the victims killed in last week’s shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility and said it should spur Congress to take steps to combat mental illness.

While President Obama and fellow Democrats have said the shooting should spur gun controls, Mr. Ryan said the one area where all sides can agree is on trying to treat mental illness, which he implied was at the root of the attack that left three people dead and nine others wounded.

“What happened is appalling and justice should be swift,” Mr. Ryan said. “Clearly we can do more, and one common denominator in these tragedies is mental illness. that’s why we need to look at fixing our nation’s mental health system.”

The man accused of the killing, Robert Lewis Dear, reportedly gave a rambling set of remarks to police after the Friday shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

In one of the remarks, press reports say, he said “no more baby parts” — which reporters took to be a reference to the ongoing questions over some Planned Parenthood clinics’ practice of selling fetal body parts.

The violence led House Democrats on Tuesday to demand Mr. Ryan disband the special committee set up to investigate Planned Parenthood.

Instead, the Democrats said the House should investigate the easy accessibility that gun-control advocates blame for mass shootings.

New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman said women deserve “freedom and safety and security” in their healthcare, and should not be worried about somebody coming into a clinic with a gun seeking to do harm in the name of pro-life activism.

“We need to do things like set up a select committee on looking at the proliferation of gun safety so that women and anybody seeking their rights to access healthcare aren’t frightened simply because Congress isn’t doing its job,” she said.

Mental health is an issue that needs to be addressed, Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky said, but when it came to the Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic shooting, it was better gun control that would have prevented the tragedy.

“There’s the issue of how we create a better infrastructure to provide mental health services, but I think the idea that we would be able to prevent everyone from going into a Planned Parenthood clinic or into a movie theater if only we would do something about mental health is just not realistic,” she said.

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