My friend Robin Marty, writing at Cosmo of all places, looks at protests in Richfield, Minnesota against a Planned Parenthood clinic that doesn’t perform abortions at all. It does provide family planning services, but the protesters want it shut down.
It started with a Facebook page and an online petition. Next came the meetings, prayers, phone calls to the Chamber of Commerce, and a protest at the clinic’s grand opening. Now neighbors are coming home to door hangers warning them about a new provider “preying upon your community,” and abortion opponents have maintained a constant presence at the clinic’s door.
All of this to stop a clinic that doesn’t even offer abortions.
At a time when family planning and sexual health clinics are being stripped of funding, forcing many to close their doors, the opening of a new facility is a rare occurrence. But after the property owner of Centro de Salud in South Minneapolis decided to convert that clinic’s building into a technology center, the community worried that the Hispanic community, which represents at least 7 percent of the population in Hennepin County and which has almost doubled since 2000, would be left without easily accessible contraception, family planning, and sexual health services. Minnesota’s new Planned Parenthood affiliate in Richfield, which opened at the end of June, was expected to fill that gap, as well as extend services to those who reside farther away, since it can be reached via public transit.
But Pro-Life Action Ministries (PLAM), an abortion opponent known for its efforts to protest the few abortion providers in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, is now taking its same “sidewalk counseling” and public protesting tactics to the area’s newest family planning clinic. The group began protesting the affiliate in early June, and though the petition didn’t come anywhere close to its target of 1,000 signatures, the group moved forward with its efforts. A few weeks later, a prayer rally near the site of the clinic reportedly had 150 people in attendance, and just days before the center’s official launch, PLAM urged abortion opponents to condemn the Richfield Chamber of Commerce for “advocating for abortion” by holding an official ribbon cutting for the building. On the day of the opening, approximately 100 protesters gathered for a prayer vigil and demonstration, although the protesters were required to stay at least 100 feet from the clinic doors.Two weeks after that, anti-abortion activists claim to have hung nearly 14,000 leaflets on doors throughout the neighborhood, urging residents to avoid the new Planned Parenthood, which they say offers “dangerous contraception,” “promotes and encourages sex without limits,” and is “destroying families.” The flyer also encourages those who want “real reproductive health care” to go to First Care Pregnancy Center, a crisis pregnancy center, or Sagrada Familia Services, a Catholic church program, neither of which offers STI treatment or hormonal contraception. In fact, Sagrada Familia Services explicitly forbids any form of contraception, stating, “We believe that sexual expression is a natural, powerful way for two committed persons to share their love for one another. This action does not require medication or barrier devices if it is practiced between persons who are committed to one another in marriage and open to new life.”
Just more evidence that the real goal is not to prevent abortion but to prevent women from controlling their own reproduction in any way at all. If they wanted to prevent abortion, they’d be cheering on a clinic that provides birth control.