Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life hasn’t had much success in recent years when it comes to pushing legislation. Despite the anti-choice majority in the House, and, in previous years, majorities in the House and Senate, Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has vetoed all of their pet bills, undermining their influence in the policy debate.
Unhappy with their lack of power, the Minnesota branch of National Right to Life have decided to take the battle to cut off access to safe abortion care to the public square by accusing a local clinic of violating abortion regulations. MCCL has accused Whole Women’s Health of breaking the state’s 24-hour waiting period for so-called “informed consent” prior to abortion. Their evidence?
The website read “Same day procedures offered in our Twin Cities office.”
MCCL admits they never contacted the clinic about what they saw. Instead, they jumped right to filing a complaint with the state and calling a press conference to denounce the provider. National Right to Life News claims that that “At a minimum, this information is false and misleading to women if indeed they cannot walk in and have their unborn child aborted. If Whole Woman’s Health will perform a same-day abortion, it is clearly illegal.” Scott Fischbach, MCCL Executive Director, cites the website and his own unfounded accusations as a clear sign that the state needs to license clinics that provide abortions and force them to rebuild as surgical centers, despite no clear explanation of how exactly that would address his allegations of waiting period violations even if they were in fact true.
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Why would the group be so intent on bringing a non-issue like this out into the public for an immediate press conference? Because like many on the anti-choice side, they are part of a coordinated effort to call for TRAP laws requiring excessive regulation of abortion clinics in wake of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial. Just as the discovery of Gosnell’s illegal abortion practice in 2011 was used in Pennsylvania as the impetus for passing a TRAP law that closed a majority of the safe, legal clinics in the state, other groups are hoping to cash in on the growing media coverage of his trial to convince more states to pass unnecessary licensing and rebuilding laws in the name of “stopping more Gosnells.”
Whole Woman’s Health has told the Pioneer Press that is has never violated the 24-hour law, and the accusations are baseless. “Women who phone the clinic are told they can get same-day consultation with a physician, [Terry Sallas Merritt, executive director of the clinic] said, but the actual abortion procedure would follow the consult call by at least 24 hours….’We’ve never had a woman call us who was the least bit confused.'”
But to be completely sure, the group has now reworded the sentence online to read “Same day surgical consult in our Twin Cities location.” MCCL will have to drum up a new fake outrage to justify a TRAP bill.