Threats from Attorney General Keith Ellison pressured Prinsburg’s city council to unanimously reject an ordinance that would have allowed residents to sue abortionists and companies that provide abortion-inducing drugs in the city. The council scrapped the measure on Friday, Dec. 2.
The proposal was suggested by retiring GOP Rep. Tim Miller, who represents the area, on Nov. 15. Miller now serves as the director of Pro-Life Action Ministries in St. Paul. Among other things, the measure — which was drafted with help from the Thomas Moore Society — stated that life begins “at conception.” It also classifies abortion as a “murderous act of violence.”
On Nov. 23, Ellison sent a strongly-worded letter denouncing the ordinance, threatening to pursue legal action if the council approved it after having taken it under consideration.
“Any municipal ordinance which limits the fundamental rights of pregnant Minnesotans to receive an abortion is unconstitutional,” Ellison argued. “In addition, we have extensive state laws regulating the practices of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy. No city has the power to restrict the right to abortion or enact conflicting regulation on health care providers.”
“I will do everything within my power to protect Minnesotans’ constitutional rights, including the right to abortion,” he added.
Prinsburg is a deeply conservative town of around 500 residents located in central Minnesota’s Kandiyohi County. It does not have an established abortion facility. Miller told media at the time that the ordinance was one of the last legal avenues to pursue to prevent the murder of unborn children in Minnesota, especially given Ramsey County Judge Thomas Gilligan’s decision to strike down several abortion restrictions in July.
During an interview with Willmar Radio at the time, Miller said that after Gilligan’s decision “there’s really no way to stop abortions … in Minnesota through live birth.” There’s “just nothing legally that we can do anymore about that. The abortion industry … effectively has virtually total control, so this is our path by which we’re going to defend those unborn and their mothers.”
On Friday, Dec. 2, Prinsburg Mayor Roger Ahrenholz opened the city council’s session. According to West Central Tribune reporter Tom Cherveny, the vote was unanimous and “came with no discussion or comments.”
Cherveny added that “before the council heard the motion to deny the ordinance, Mayor Roger Ahrenholz outlined the challenges the city would likely face were it enacted.” Ahrenholz reportedly said the city’s legal counsel didn’t provide council members with a way to refute Ellison’s position.
Miller told the West Central Tribune that he believes the ordinance can legally be upheld based on similar measures enacted elsewhere across the country and that it can be used to file lawsuits against mobile abortion clinics that visit Prinsburg.
Stephen Kokx, M.A., is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. He previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago under the late Francis Cardinal George. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching and politics. His essays have appeared in such outlets as Catholic Family News and CatholicVote.org.