Bus tour protest of Sacramento’s Planned Parenthood postponed due to Colorado shootings

After fatal shootings last week at a Colorado clinic, abortion opponents postponed a national bus tour Monday that was scheduled to begin outside Planned Parenthood in Sacramento.

The “Women Betrayed” bus tour organized by the Students for Life of America was set to kick off Monday morning in front of Planned Parenthood at 2901 B St. After the Sacramento stop, the group’s pink-colored bus was slated to travel through 17 states over a two-week period.

Kristina Hernandez, communications director for the Virginia-based nonprofit, said the group has not set an exact date for the kickoff but expects to launch the tour in the spring.

She said Sacramento was selected as a starting point for logistical and political reasons, including undercover video that was shot in California that anti-abortion activists said was proof that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal organs.

Liz Figueroa of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, which covers part of California and Nevada, said the organization had no comment on the bus tour. She said Planned Parenthood will continue to focus on its patients, including providing a volunteer escort service for those who have to walk past protesters on their way to obtaining services at the clinic.

Hernandez said her group wants state and federal officials to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood. The latest debate over Planned Parenthood was sparked in July when anti-abortion activists released undercover video they said showed the group’s employees negotiating the sale of fetal organs.

Planned Parenthood has denied seeking payments beyond legally permitted reimbursements for the cost of donating the organs to researchers, according to The Associated Press.

Hernandez said Students for Life of America is the largest youth anti-abortion group in the nation and provides training to 900 high school and college groups. The group’s IRS nonprofit form states that its mission is “to end abortion by educating students about the issues of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide.” The organization received nearly $1.9 million in revenues in 2013 from undisclosed sources.

Organizers of the bus tour hoped to take their message across the country. However, the Friday shooting incident that left three dead and nine injured at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., put the bus tour on hold.

“In light of the Colorado Springs shooting and out of respect for the victims and their families and the safety of our staff and supporters, this event is being re-scheduled and will not be occurring today,” wrote Hernandez in an email to the media.

Robert Lewis Dear Jr., 57, made his first appearance in court Monday. He is suspected of killing a police officer and two others who were accompanying separate friends to the Colorado Springs clinic.

The shooting resulted in an hours-long standoff and shootout. While police said they would not disclose any details about the motive for the attack, a law enforcement official said Dear told authorities “no more body parts” after being arrested.

The words were reported to have been uttered during a rambling statement. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, according to The Associated Press.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews