This past Sunday, a pair of councilmembers in Minneapolis City issued vocal and public demands that the mayor inserts a clause for additional funding exclusively for abortion as part of his upcoming budget proposal.
Robin Wonsley and Aisha Chughtai, the Minneapolis City Councilmembers in question, kicked off a campaign together with two pro-abortion groups to try and strongarm Jacob Frey, the Mayor of Minneapolis, to fund abortions. The strength behind their demands was propped up by a series of speeches from the top Democratic leadership for the state: Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05), Minnesota House Majority Whip Kaohly Vang Her (DFL-64A), State Senator Jen McEwen (DFL-07) all speeches heard by the thousands of civilians and over 16 different activist groups that were protesting for abortion rights outside of the State Capitol of Minnesota.
As part of the speech on the capitol steps, Omar heavily criticized the “fundamentalist,” “religious right” for choosing to stand against abortion. She outright denied the legitimacy of the entire Supreme Court (SCOTUS) for the rulings that they issued which totally denie4d the existence of any constitutional right to get an abortion. Omar urged those listening to start fighting back against the government in an effort to maintain their rights to abortion, gay marriage, contraception, and transgenderism.
“Let me be clear: just like in Congress, [your rights] can go away in the blink of an eye. So if you don’t want to go back to a time when old, ultra-conservative white men decide what you do with your body, you have to fight back with us,” expressed Omar.
As part of her speech, Vang Her made the claim that she had been advised by a crisis pregnancy center to keep her ectopic pregnancy, which sparked a wave of boos from the crowd. Vant Her also claimed she then chose to undergo a dilation and curettage (D&C) abortion to end the ectopic pregnancy. Being treated for an ectopic pregnancy is not the same as an abortion.
“I cannot sit by and allow a system to exist where my two daughters have less rights to their bodies and options for their reproductive care than I did,” explained Vang Her.
McEwen was joined in their attendance by many other members of the newly created Reproductive Freedom Caucus within the state legislature: State Senator Lindsey Port (DFL-56), Senate Assistant Minority Leader Mary Kunesh (DFL-41), and State Representative Kelly Morrison (DFL-33B). As part of her speech, McEwen made the promise that the caucus would seek to drop any barriers to abortion within the state of Minnesota and to make sure that abortion was far more affordable, along with being far more accessible.
The 16 various groups that helped to set up the protests that were held on Sunday were Pro-Choice Minnesota, Jewish Community Action, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, TakeAction Minneapolis, Minnesota NOW, Gender Justice, Our Justice (formerly Pro-Choice Resources), Planned Parenthood Minnesota, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Whole Woman’s Health, Hand Over the Decision Its Healthcare (HOTDISH) Militia, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) Minnesota, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota, OutFront Minnesota, UnRestrict Minnesota, and Women’s March Minnesota.
The executive director of Pro-Choice Minnesota, Maggie Meyer, stated in a release sent to Patch that Frey issued a promise to try and make the city of Minneapolis a haven for anyone seeking abortion and that full funding was the single way to make the promise a reality.
“We’re calling on Mayor Frey to affirm his commitment to making Minneapolis a ‘safe haven’ for abortion access through direct funding because without financial support the legal right is not sufficient in ensuring that people can actually access the abortion care they need,” exclaimed Meyer.
Frey Issued his promise of being a “safe haven” back in May in the wake of Politico publishing the leaked SCOTUS opinion about possibly overruling Roe v. Wade.
“We will always be a haven for people that need the full scope of health care services which, of course, includes abortion,” explained Frey. “We will do everything possible to make sure that is the case indefinitely.”
He would again repeat this ideal near the end of last month.
“Abortion is health care. I will say that again and again,” stated Frey on social media. “The women of our country and our city deserve the right to choose what happens to their own body.”
Abortion is health care. I will say that again and again. The women of our country and our city deserve the right to choose what happens to their OWN body. MPLS will continue to be a haven for those seeking an abortion.
— Mayor Jacob Frey (@MayorFrey) June 24, 2022