MN launches Abortion Action Coalition, demands end to state funding for ‘crisis pregnancy centers’
Minneapolis, MN – Chants of “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” could be heard up and down Chicago Avenue and 41st Streets in South Minneapolis on Thursday, August 18, as 40 protesters gathered outside the Tandem Family Resource Center – one of Minnesota’s now-infamous “crisis pregnancy centers” – for a rally for women’s and reproductive rights. The action was organized by the newly formed Minnesota Abortion Action Coalition (MNAAC) to demand an end to state funding for Tandem and other “crisis pregnancy centers” like it.
A chorus of honks greeted the protest, many drivers raising their fists in support, some local residents passing by voiced their support for the action and thanked the demonstrators for being there. Signs dotted the crowd, and several protestors wore buttons and held signs with slogans like “Fund abortion, not fake clinics.” After several volleys of chants, the emcees introduced the first speakers and the action got underway.
Speaking for the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition, Montana Hirsch made clear that the struggle for immigrant rights and access to abortion are inseparable, also pointing out that “Crisis pregnancy centers like Tandem that exist in close proximity to a largely Spanish-speaking immigrant community are intentionally deceptive, not only to English speakers but even more so to those who are not native English speakers.”
David Gilbert-Pederson, speaking for MN Workers United, outlined the evident connection between the working-class struggle and the fight for women’s and reproductive rights, explaining that abortion bans are only bans for working and oppressed people, while the wealthy carry on with business as usual.
Olivia Crull of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization echoed that sentiment, explaining, “The only reason why we have these rights is because they were fought for and won through struggle in the streets” and outlined the need for a united struggle: “We need a united fight- we need a fight that includes women, that includes trans folks, that includes non-binary folks because we need to recognize that our struggles come from the same source.”
Other speakers included Sarah Olson of Women Against Military Madness, Gillian Rath from Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota, Jaelynne Palmer of the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, and Tracy Molm of the Climate Justice Committee. Speakers urged people to call in to the governor’s office to demand an end to state funding for these centers and funding for actual abortion clinics and health care. Flyers with call-in details were handed out.
In its points of unity, MNAAC describes these crisis pregnancy centers as “Organizations that use misleading naming and advertising to appeal to those seeking abortion, only to instead persuade them to seek other options. The anti-abortion ideology of these centers takes priority over the well-being of the pregnant people seeking care at these centers, causing them to not receive comprehensive, accurate, evidence-based clinical information about all available options.”
As for state funding of these clinics, “In Minnesota alone, $3.4 million in state dollars goes to crisis pregnancy centers every year. We demand that Minnesota and all other U.S. states cease funding these misleading and ideologically motivated anti-abortion centers.” After the protest and call-in campaign, the Minnesota Attorney General issued a consumer warning for these centers, but the Walz administration as a whole has yet to act on these demands.
In the end, with the upsurge nationwide and locally in protests to defend women’s and reproductive rights in the wake of the Dobbs decision and the floodgate of attacks on abortion it opened, it is clear that people are ready and willing to take to the streets and fight back.
The Minnesota Abortion Action Coalition was founded in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and the mass protests which followed, including a 10,000-strong march led by the University of MN Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. They, along with the Anti-War Committee, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, and other organizations came together to create a coalition to further the struggle to defend and expand women’s and reproductive rights in the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota overall. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and subscribe to their newsletter on website mnaac.org to keep up to date on their latest actions.