The Minnesota condition

Here’s what it’s like to live here when reproductive rights are being stripped everywhere around us: the governor sent out a bulk email.

Without Roe v. Wade as a safeguard, Minnesota could soon become the only state in the upper Midwest with safe and legal access to abortion.

We are a safe haven for reproductive freedom, and as long as I’m governor, it will stay that way. That’s why today, I signed an Executive Order to further protect people who get or provide legal abortions in Minnesota from possible legal repercussions in other states.

Lt. Governor Flanagan and I have been clear: We will not allow Donald Trump’s 6-3 conservative Supreme Court majority to set back our rights here in Minnesota.

Our Republican anti-choice extremist opponents, on the other hand, have pledged to ban abortion outright, with no exceptions even for rape or incest, the first chance they get.

That’s pretty good, and it’s true that the Republicans in this state are yowling about needing to prove they’re good ‘Muricans by imposing even more cruel and burdensome restrictions. It was marred, however, by the usual ‘give me money’ close. Sorry, you can ask for my vote, but not for donations. There are people who need them more. Like the Red River Women’s Clinic.

The only abortion clinic in North Dakota is now preparing to move across state lines following the recent Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade.

Red River Women’s Clinic, located in Fargo, has been the only provider in the state for 20 years.
They now await closure, which will leave many women in the state without care.
Clinic Director Tammi Kromenaker told CNN Saturday they are still open, for now. “The plan is to provide service as long as we legally can,” Kromenaker said.

Fargo, if you don’t know your midwestern geography, is on the far eastern side of the state, right on the border with Minnesota, and Moorhead is a short hop across the river, so this is a relatively easy move. It’s still inconvenient and expensive. I’d rather donate to the clinic than to Democrats.

Unfortunately, as easy as it is to move, these assholes can also easily drive for 15 minutes to torment women. Sickos.

The people in the blue vests are heroes, clinic escorts. The people with the obnoxious signs are scum. I notice that the scum are allowed to cluster right around the entrance for maximum viciousness. Maybe the Minnesota Democrats could get their act together to pass a law setting much larger restrictions on how close harassers can get to a women’s health clinic? Maybe then they could ask me for a few bucks.


  1. says

    Sorry man, but you’re pledging not to donate to Democratic political campaigns makes no sense at all. Hasn’t it occurred to you that the only hope for democracy is to defeat Republicans at the polls? Moving a clinic to Minnesota isn’t going to do any good when the Republican congress and president Trump outlaw abortion nationwide. Because that’s what’s going to happen if we pretend elections don’t matter.

  2. says

    That’s not a “pledge”. That’s a recognition of the desperate reality of people who are not politicians. Also note that I closed by saying I would donate in return for concrete political action.
    I’ve never claimed that elections don’t matter.

  3. says

    The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed a bill codifying Roe v Wade as the law of the land. It needs a Democratic Senate majority to go further. Democrats can’t give you concrete political action if they aren’t in power. You seem to have this backwards.

  4. says

    What can I say? I have never voted for a Republican in my life, and at every ballot I punch a straight Democratic ticket. Is that what you’re saying I’ve got backwards?

  5. raven says

    I will also note using the map in the previous Surrounded thread, that the top tier of Red states can always go to Canada. This would be Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The Canadians are already preparing for an invasion of US medical refugees.

    The states furthest away from any sanctuaries are the South.

  6. says

    “It was marred, however, by the usual ‘give me money’ close. Sorry, you can ask for my vote, but not for donations. ” Those are the immortal words of PZ Myers. Donating isn’t everything but political campaigns need money. Refusing to donate to them until after they have won and already taken the action you want makes no sense.

  7. says

    More like “refusing to donate to them when they have won and still haven’t taken the actions they campaigned on”. There’s a difference between supporting a political party that shares a perspective on the issues, and mindlessly shoveling money at a political party no matter what they do.

  8. lancefinney says

    “Maybe the Minnesota Democrats could get their act together to pass a law setting much larger restrictions on how close harassers can get to a women’s health clinic?”

    The Supreme Court struck down that kind of law a few years ago, saying that the free speech rights of nice old white women would be violated if rules prevented those scum from harassing patients and workers.

  9. raven says

    The Supreme Court struck down that kind of law a few years ago, …

    So, pass another similar law and make the Supreme Court rule on it again.

    If enough people in enough states don’t enforce a Federal law, it becomes unenforceable.
    .1. We tried Prohibition of alcohol.
    .2. We tried Prohibition of marijuana. It is still illegal at the Federal level.
    Within a few mile of my house there are a lot of Cannabis “dispensaries” and they advertise a lot in the local media.
    .3. During the current Covid-19 pandemic, the Red states just ignored any and all public health measures to fight this pandemic. They’ve got the dead bodies to prove it. The death rates from Covid-19 virus are a lot higher than in the Blue states.
    They still are. DeathSantis is refusing to stock the pediatric Covid-19 virus vaccine in Florida.
    .4. The most serious and widespread resistance to Federal laws was and is the South and anything to do with Civil Rights and racial integration.
    The South has been resisting the end of slavery, the voting rights of nonwhites, and racial integration and equality since 1865. With a lot of success.

    The GOP/christofascists will try to pass a Nationwide abortion ban as soon as they can. They are only a few votes short right now.
    And then the Blue states can start making Federal enforcement somewhere between very difficult and impossible.

    What the GOP/christofascists have forgotten is that government depends on the consent of the people.
    This is even true to some extent in a dictatorship. Ask the USSR how that worked.
    The large majority of the US population wants to keep abortion safe and legal.

  10. Rich Woods says

    @raven #9:

    The large majority of the US population wants to keep abortion safe and legal.

    But all it takes is one decent, upright Christofascist family member or social media confidante who wants to join the Stasi — and, in Texas at least, claim their $10,000 for being a good, law-abiding citizen — to report a suspected baby killer. Tell me there are not going to be people like that.


    I notice that the scum are allowed to cluster right around the entrance for maximum viciousness.

    The scum are also not far off from being allowed to openly carry firearms everywhere without a licence. Presumably the Second Amendment freaks would be satisfied if the clinic escorts responded by carrying wolverines armed with rocket launchers.

    This is all going to get very much worse before it gets better.

  11. consciousness razor says

    Donating isn’t everything but political campaigns need money.

    We asked the parliamentarian about it and got a thunderous “no.” Any mere mortal would have turned back right then and there. We bravely pressed on, determination in our eyes and our treacherous path laid before our feet, yet it was our fate that several of my heroic colleagues, each a staunch defender of justice and democracy, were tragically forced to vote against the measure, while rending their garments and gnashing their teeth, weeping in agony about the pathetic failure, great howls of despair still echoing throughout the lengthy brunch we had together the following week. Once we finished the meal and hadn’t left a tip, it was at that very moment that we all knew it was the end.

    Oh well. Maybe next decade.

  12. says

    The democrats have been using abortion as a wedge issue the same way the republicans use wedge issues: “they will overturn roe” and “they will grab your guns” – it’s cynical politics. The republicans long-term court-packing finally paid off and now the democrats are gleefully GOTV and raise money. [and, as I pointed out over at stderr, meanwhile it’s “pump oil!” – they are killing the planet while pretending to care]

  13. says

    But all it takes is one decent, upright Christofascist family member or social media confidante who wants to join the Stasi — and, in Texas at least, claim their $10,000 for being a good, law-abiding citizen — to report a suspected baby killer. Tell me there are not going to be people like that.

    Shoot a few of ’em. It’s getting to be past time. And the republicans are making it easier to carry guns anywhere. It’s brilliant is what it is.

  14. stwriley says

    As someone who has volunteered as a clinic escort, I totally agree with you PZ. Hopefully, when Red River Women’s Clinic relocates, they can find a building where they can have a proper buffer between their entrance and public space like the sidewalk at the building in your picture. The clinics I’ve escorted at have all done this, so that parking areas and other space that belongs to the clinic rather than being public right-of-way like a sidewalk, are around the entrance. It makes it a lot easier to insulate the patients from the protestors and keep them safe. Of course, you still have to guide them into that controlled space past the howling mob, but if they’re inside vehicles rather than on foot, that becomes a lot easier.
    Of course, the addition of guns to that scenario isn’t one I’ve had to deal with yet, since every place I’ve escorted has had reasonable gun laws that don’t allow for armed mobs to try to intimidate the patients. With this week’s SC decisions, that may well no longer be true. Maybe ballistic shields are in order.

  15. anat says

    From an email in my inbox:

    Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski said in a statement they would support legislation to “codify the Supreme Court’s rulings in Roe v. Wade and the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, while preserving states’ rights to enact abortion-related statutes that comply with those rulings.” That’s much weaker than the WHPA, but it’s a lot better than nothing.

    I wrote to my senators (who are both D and pro-women) reminding them to support this.

  16. says

    We’ve got one of those Christian crisis pregnancy centers right downtown. Here’s the location. They do some worthwhile things, like pregnancy testing and some prenatal care, but they don’t actually do diddly-squat about “crises” or “pregnancies” — they exist to tell you to have your babies.

    we do not perform or refer for abortions

    They can’t do anything. They don’t have any doctors or nurses on staff — just Xian busybodies. There is a whole network of these things, and they are partially funded by Minnesota state. Let’s end that, too!
    Don’t set it on fire, but do defund it.

  17. Allison says

    My understanding is that the preferred method for 1st trimester abortion involves taking two different medications in sequence, which causes a miscarriage in about 24-48 hours, or something like that.

    Wouldn’t this mean that in many cases, the woman wouldn’t have to travel to a “safe” state? Just get the medications in secret (like any other “illegal” drug) and follow a protocol you download from the WWW. It would require some privacy so that the wrong lizards don’t find out about it.

    Granted, it would be better to do it under the supervision of a medical professional, but I don’t imagine it would be any more dangerous than the sort of underground abortions people used to do.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    If I lived on your continent I would volunteer to sit on the placard-carrying assholes to immobilise them with 280 pounds of lipids and sheer rage.
    Going off on a tangent- all talk about late abortions is BS.
    You can see the number of third trimester abortions on the CDC Web site. I forgot the number, but it is very small compared to early abortions.
    The late abortions happen because ultrasound imaging is imperfect.
    Some pretty awful non-survivable deformities can happen because fetal development is less than 100 % perfect.
    I assume pollution, alcohol and other environmental factors in low-income areas increase the frequency of this.

  19. raven says

    Just get the medications in secret (like any other “illegal” drug) and follow a protocol you download from the WWW.

    That is already being done often in the USA.
    There is already a black market for misoprostol.

    Of course, there is also already a crackdown on the black market for abortion drugs in the USA. The christofascists know enough to go after the sellers of those drugs.

    They are going to get harder and harder to get and the penalties for providing those drugs are going to be severe. Probably a felony with 5 to 10 years in prison. The penalty for taking those drugs is already life in prison or the death penalty.

    And, not everyone is familiar with the market for illegal drugs. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to get illegal methamphetamine or ecstasy any more.

  20. raven says

    Medical abortions after seven weeks are now a felony in Texas › 2021/12/02 › texas-ban-…

    Dec 2, 2021 — The law makes it a felony to provide the medication after seven weeks of pregnancy, putting Texas at odds with federal regulations. It also makes it a crime to send the medication through the mail.

    The FDA has attempted to crack down on some providers, including AidAccess, a group founded in 2018 by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a European doctor. AidAccess provides abortion-inducing medications to women in areas that have restricted access to the procedure.

    Gomperts has said she will continue prescribing to patients in Texas. She told CBS News in September that she believes she is on solid legal ground since it is legal to prescribe this medication where she is based.

    You can see where this is going.

    I’m sure Texas, that bastion of fake freedom, is going to have the Zygote Police, called the ZyPo for short, roaming the state looking for abortion drugs and pregnant girls and women.
    And, the concentration camps for tens of thousands of women.
    The number of abortions in Texas runs around 53,000 a year.

  21. nausetimages says

    It’s all just a fundraising ploy for the dems. They could have done something, multiple times over the years. Instead they do nothing but fundraise to secure their personal power. Which is why as a party they are powerless.

  22. wzrd1 says

    Don’t be surprised when there’s also a mass exodus of OB/GYN practices from those states, just to avoid potential litigation over accusations, real or imagined.
    Then, we really watch women die in large numbers, both from complications of molar pregnancies, breech birth complications without a physician to resolve, ectopic pregnancies, infections and cancers, to name just a few and the fertility rate (they’re going after IVF as well) dropping into the toilet.
    As for the protestors, I say their mettle should be tested with WP rounds… Non-believers and those unfaithful to their god will run, those who are faithful will remain.
    As I recall, nobody in biblical times admired the Zealots after Masada.

  23. birgerjohansson says

    ZyPo, with black uniforms.
    I suppose there will be a lot of recruits formerly from Immigration that have few ethics concerns.
    And when Griswold vs Connecticut is overturned, they need extra police to make sure married couples do not use forbidden forms of contraception.

  24. says

    i couldn’t be a clinic escort bc i’d stab a motherfucker. being around those kind of people sets my skin on fire, makes me tremble with hatred and loathing. all i can think about is making them stop existing, as brutally as possible. kind of an exacerbated version of the flush and skin crawl i get just being in a church. i’m a cool-headed enough cat under most circumstances in life because i know my limitations and operate within them.

    all that’s to say i have huge respect for people that are able to either be calm about this, or to channel their rage to positive ends, or to just keep it under control. braver than any US marine, so goes the meme. love you people.

  25. says

    They built a brand new Planned Parenthood on MLK in Portland when I first moved here. The protesters were harassing the workers to the point they kicked the construction fence out to the street eliminating the sidewalk. Then the protestors moved across the street. The local businesses got them kicked for loitering. Then they organized a march, with police escort, up Alberta and down MLK. The police escort was the only thing keeping me from tossing a molotov at them. Pathetic cowards.

    This was over a decade ago when I was more fiery than I am now. These days I will die for a right to choose, but I will NOT kill for it.

  26. corrigan says

    By the way, the GoFundMe for the Red River Women’s Clinic, linked in this post, is a barnburner. In four days they have raised $700,000 from 9000 donations. The largest donation is an incredible 32K.

    I’m being stingy with my donations to the Democrats so far. Will probably pick it up. I do like the Give Smart guy, who advocates for state level elections where dollars go farther. It’s probably pointless and wasteful to give in cases like Margie Green. With gerrymandering, some races are completely out of reach. I’m in Virginia, and my congressional rep, the horrid Ben Cline, supporter of the coup, is untouchable.