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Attacked Planned Parenthood In Colorado Springs Reopens With Ceremony

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - The Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs attacked by a gunman in November partially reopened its doors on Monday with a ceremony at 9 a.m.

SPRINGS PLANNED PARENTHOOD .transfer
(credit: CBS)

"I want to acknowledge that it's been a really challenging and emotional time for Planned Parenthood. For our supporters, our staff and our patients since the events took place here," Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains CEO and President Vicki Cowart said at the ceremony.

About 30 percent of the clinic reopened. An armored police vehicle smashed its way into the facility to rescue people. There's still a lot of repair work to do, but they wanted to get back to serving patients as soon as possible.

Planned Parenthood Attack Victims Garrett Swasey Ke'Arre Stewart Jennifer Markovsky
Garrett Swasey, Ke'Arre Stewart and Jennifer Markovsky (credit: CBS)

It has been a difficult three months for Planned Parenthood since the siege on the day after Thanksgiving. Three were killed, nine wounded, and the sense of security shattered.

Cowart says they won't be able to handle the normal numbers of patients.

Vicki Cowart
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountain's CEO and President Vicki Cowart is interviewed by CBS4's Rick Sallinger (credit: CBS)

"We'll be providing the range of services the same as before, but reduced number, we won't be able to see as many people each day," she said.

Two of those killed were accompanying clients and the third was a police officer who came to help. The staff of the clinic hid in rooms away from the gunman Robert Lewis Dear.

Cowart praised her employees,

"The brave and remarkable people in the health center that day have recovered so well," she said.

As for the gunman, he said he was a "warrior for the babies." By phone in January from jail he told CBS4's Rick Sallinger he did not plan the attack in advance. He plans to plead guilty and expects to be put to death.

"I feel they are going to execute me and put me to death. That will be apology enough," Dear said.

Robert Lewis Dear
Robert Lewis Dear in court in 2015. (credit: CBS)

His goal he said was to prevent abortions, but Cowart insists he failed.

"He didn't save lives, he disrupted lives," she said. "He interfered with people accessing health care."

While Planned Parenthood is reopening, Dear is to be undergoing a competency exam at the state hospital in Pueblo to determine if he is fit to stand trial.

LINK: Statement from Rocky Mountains CEO and President Vicki Cowart

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