House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) urged Congress Tuesday to overhaul the mental healthcare system in the United States as a way to prevent mass shootings.
“The common theme with these types of shootings is mental illness,” said Ryan. “We should make this a priority to prevent the violence and to protect our citizens.”
Ryan offered his condolences to the families of those killed and injured at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, where two civilians and one police officer were killed last week.
“What happened is appalling, and justice should be swift,” Ryan said. “Clearly we can do more.”
Ryan pointed to legislation from Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), a psychologist, which would increase the number of beds in psychiatric hospitals and authorize an early-intervention program.
According to Murphy, “The federal government’s approach to mental health has been a chaotic patchwork of antiquated programs and ineffective policies across numerous agencies.” He argued that the poor mental healthcare in the United States means “Patients end up in the criminal justice system or on the streets because services are not available.”
Democrats and abortion-rights supporters have gone after conservatives by saying that their rhetoric helped fuel the violence. Their efforts have been on gun-control measures and blaming the tone that Republicans use when talking about Planned Parenthood clinics and abortions.
President Obama argued Tuesday that Americans need to stop demonizing Planned Parenthood.
“How we talk about it, making sure that we’re talking about it factually, accurately, and not demonizing organizations like Planned Parenthood I think is important.”
“I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way,” he said. “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.”