Planned Parenthood Evacuated In Florida, 7 Hospitalized After Unknown Substance Found In Clinic (VIDEO)

Planned Parenthood clinics have long been targets for right-wing “Christian” extremism and it looks like they may have struck again, this time in Florida.

Sarasota Fire and Rescue responded to a call at the city’s Planned Parenthood office Monday morning. Two Hazmat crews — one from Sarasota, the other from neighboring Manatee County — were called to the scene to investigate an unknown substance in the building. According to a spokesperson, 38 people were inside of the downtown clinic, seven of whom were taken to the hospital after experiencing shortness of breath. In addition to the evacuation of the clinic, a nearby school, the Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences, was put on lockdown.

Image via video screenshot

Image via video screenshot

Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida issued the following statement:

At Planned Parenthood our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. The situation at our Sarasota Health Center is still developing. All staff have been evacuated, with seven taken to the hospital to monitor their health. No patients were on site. We are grateful to emergency responders and law enforcement for their quick response.

Here in Florida and across the country, Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record.

We are looking into the cause of this issue and will keep you informed of our progress.

At this time, nobody knows what made the people inside of the clinic sick, but with all of the right-wing hate focused on the organization it is easy to automatically assume the worst. Last year, a conservative pro-fetus organization doctored videos and accused Planned Parenthood of “selling baby parts.” Their lies led to the murders of three people at a Colorado Springs PP clinic. Christian terrorist Robert Dear shot and killed the three people and injured nine others. He claimed that he carried out the crimes in response to the doctored videos and claimed he was a “warrior for the babies.” In addition to the shooting, a number of clinics were the targets of arsonists.

One thing is certain, in an age when Republican organizations use fear-mongering and lies to keep their base whipped up in a frenzy, nobody is safe. Their rhetoric is dangerous and we have seen the evidence of it too many times — hopefully, this isn’t one of those cases.

UPDATE: Hazmat is reporting that unknown, uncapped cleaning chemicals were found in a closet, as well as baby food in a stairwell. 

Featured image via WFLA