The Red River Women’s Clinic, the only abortion facility in North Dakota, moved to Moorhead, Minnesota this past August of 2022. The sidewalk counselors and prayer supporters faithfully followed the clinic from its former location in Fargo, North Dakota to its new location. But this isn’t the clinic’s first move. In fact, pro-lifers have been faithfully following and praying for this facility’s close for forty-one years!
The story began in 1981 when the Red River Women’s Clinic, formerly the Fargo Women’s Health Organization, opened at 11 14th Street South. The citizens in Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota, horrified that abortionists would be killing pre-born children in their hometown, organized a strong prayer presence outside the clinic. Many were arrested for rescues—peacefully blocking the entrances or sitting in the waiting rooms of the clinic offering alternatives to the abortion-bound women. These people weren’t paid to do this; they took time out of their daily lives and work to pray, sidewalk counsel, and perform rescues. In 1998, the clinic moved to 512 1st Avenue North, right in the middle of downtown Fargo. Sidewalk counselors continued to offer the women entering the clinic financial aid, materials, and counseling amid the busy traffic of 1st Avenue and aggressive escorts who surrounded each woman, afraid that she might choose life for her baby.
On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade which caused a trigger law in North Dakota to once again ban abortion. The Red River Women’s Clinic already had plans in place to move two and a half miles away into Moorhead, Minnesota where abortion is still legal and raised over one million dollars on a Go-Fund-Me to renovate their new building in Moorhead.
Tim Miller, executive director of PLAM Action, decided that the pro-life community of Minnesota wouldn’t let the Red River Women’s Clinic walk into Minnesota without any resistance. He found the new location and organized a rally right across the street for Friday, August 19 to inform, equip, and inspire the local citizens to protest this clinic in any capacity.
Likely in response to this approaching pro-life rally, Red River Women’s Clinic prematurely began performing not just chemical abortions, but surgical abortions in the unrenovated office building. They will face little opposition for doing surgeries in an office building because in Minnesota, there are almost no regulations for abortion facilities.
In a court ruling on July 11, Judge Gilligan removed almost all restrictions on abortion in Minnesota, including the 24-hour waiting period between the counseling and the abortion, the parental consent law for minors, and the law stating that a physician must perform the abortion. In Minnesota, a minor girl can go in and have a surgery performed by a medical assistant without her parent’s permission in an unrenovated office building that has never been inspected by the Minnesota Department of Health.
The situation in Moorhead and all of Minnesota might seem insurmountable. You might wonder, “What can I do to stop something as monstrous as this?” I answer that abortion doesn’t end from a Supreme Court Ruling in Washington D.C. It doesn’t end from trigger laws. It doesn’t end from laws passed by state legislatures. It ends when we take time out of our day to pray on the sidewalk so persistently that we annoy God. It ends when we live our pro-life values from conception to natural death at every moment of our day. It ends when we change the culture one conversation, one day, one person, one prayer at a time.