Pro-life groups plan to rally in Moorhead, Minn., Friday night after a Fargo, N.D., abortion clinic raised more than $1 million to move across the river.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade triggered a ban on abortion in North Dakota, which will likely take effect later this month pending legal challenges. The state’s only abortion facility, Red River Women’s Clinic, relocated to Moorhead, causing some pro-life leaders to fear the western Minnesota city will become an “abortion destination.”
“Moorhead has become front and center as a destination for women seeking an abortion from all over the United States,” said Tim Miller, executive director of the grassroots wing of Pro-Life Action Ministries. “We are not okay with Red River Women’s abortion clinic assuming they can simply jump over the river and set up operations in a community that never invited them.”
Miller said they have formed a broad coalition of faith and community leaders to pressure the clinic into changing its mind.
“This is my town and I am proud of it. I am very uncomfortable with abortions being performed in our city. Moorhead residents should decide if we want to be an abortion destination from across the United States instead of outside influences,” said Gert Solum, a Moorhead resident and business owner.
Pro-life leaders are holding prayer vigils every Thursday in front of the clinic’s new Moorhead location and working with attorneys to ensure the facility complies with city code and zoning requirements.
The abortion facility launched a GoFundMe to help with this “incredibly expensive” transition and raised more than $1 million. Its new Minnesota location officially opened last week.
“We did it — we opened our new home in Moorhead today. Red River Women’s Clinic is here to stay and we welcomed our first patients into our clinic today,” the clinic said Aug. 10.
With Minnesota morphing into an island for abortion access in the Midwest, Miller said pro-life groups are concerned “that non-residents of Minnesota will be eligible for Minnesota taxpayer-funded abortions.”
While calling for “peaceful” but “bold” action, Miller said Pro-Life Action Ministries will do whatever it can to make this move “problematic” for Red River Women’s Clinic, starting with “educating residents and businesses of Moorhead as to the implications of this abortion clinic operating in Moorhead.”
“The abortion industry and top elected officials in Minnesota are advertising to women from other states to come here to get their abortions. Companies are promoting they will give employees $4,000 to come have an abortion here in Minnesota. And those that cannot pay are eligible to have their abortions funded by the state. Shouldn’t the citizens of Moorhead have a voice in their town becoming an abortion destination?” he added.
Bishop Andrew Cozzens of the Crookston Diocese called for “strengthening the culture of life” instead of choosing “death as the answer to a crisis pregnancy.”
Pro-Life Action Ministries plans to hold a rally at 7 p.m. Friday night at 1020 Center Avenue in Moorhead to protest the clinic. David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, will speak at the event.
“Red River Women’s Clinic has killed countless children and harmed many women in North Dakota. It’s time to send them a clear message: Enough is enough,” he said. “Your deadly legacy is not wanted or needed in Minnesota.”
As Minnesota’s neighboring states move to restrict abortion, a Ramsey County judge struck down several bipartisan regulations on the procedure last month. Attorney General Keith Ellison has declined to appeal the ruling.
“We are engaged in a righteous battle in Moorhead. This is the front line for Minnesota and the question of abortion,” said Brian Gibson, executive director of Pro-Life Action Ministries. “This is the time for everyone who does not want this in their community to take a stand for the unborn.”