St. Paul protest demands extension of abortion services
St. Paul, MN – Over 50 protesters gathered in front of Governor Tim Walz’s interim residence on Wednesday, September 13, at the Eastcliff mansion in Saint Paul to call for expanded abortion access and more money for clinics in the state of Minnesota.
Abortions remain legal in Minnesota and have been granted additional protections this year, but are completely illegal in surrounding states – South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa. Wisconsin only resumed abortion services in Madison and Milwaukee on September 18, following a year-long ban. The Minnesota Department of Health reports that the number of people seeking abortion care in Minnesota from out of state doubled in the last year.
“We're here today to demand our governor, Tim Walz, actually stands up and fights for abortion access,” declared Robynne Johnson, a member of the Minnesota Abortion Action Committee. Currently, there are eight abortion clinics in the state of Minnesota, compared to the 90 anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” in the state. Johnson continued, “Passing the PRO Act was step one. We demand more from our government to ensure Minnesota functions as an actual sanctuary state.”
Referring to recent attempts by federal courts to restrict and ban the abortion medication mifepristone, Johnson continued, “If the Supreme Court takes up the case, they may rule in favor of restrictions. That would prevent online ordering, mail delivery, and pharmacy dispensing of abortion pills.” Medication abortions using mifepristone and misoprostol currently account for half of all abortions performed in the U.S.
Jay Belsito spoke on behalf of Gender Justice and Unrestrict MN, saying, “ Crisis pregnancy centers are still operating and predatory in our neighborhoods, particularly in marginalized communities, and unfortunately they provide a lot of the only healthcare that folks can access, so we have a lot of work to do to make sure people can access the care that they need,” adding, “the extremists are coming for it all and we need to be ready for that.”
Alessia Guzman Huaman, MNAAC member and immigration paralegal, continued pushing for this need for more services by stating, “At first glance, these clinics look like trustworthy places, especially if you are in a place in your life where you find yourself pregnant and in need of an abortion. I want to emphasize the dangers these clinics pose to our communities of immigrants and people of color. If you recently arrived in Minnesota, barely speaking any English, or unaware of the resources around you, you are nervous and afraid, it is almost too easy to become a victim to a crisis pregnancy centers.” Guzman Huaman then echoed previous speakers' calls for more resources to be given to abortion clinics.
Robyn Harbison, a member of MNAAC and the newly-appointed director of Women Against Military Madness, addressed the crowd. “The issue of bodily autonomy is not just connected to reproductive healthcare, but it is also about reclaiming our power back, in order for all people from all nations and their bodies to be free from the threat of warfare and nuclear annihilation,” said Harbison. “To be truly anti-war is to be feminist, and to be anti-imperialist one must be for the sovereignty of not just every oppressed nation, but for the liberation of all bodies from state-sponsored control. An attack on one body is an attack on all of our bodies, and the opposition against reproductive healthcare is a declaration of war against us all.”
The “Expand Abortion Access: More Money for More Clinics” action was organized by the Minnesota Abortion Action Committee.