Over this past summer there was quite a bit of talk about abortion clinics and the people who oppose them. This was due in large part to the U.S. Supreme Court case McCullen v. Coakley. In that case the justices ruled that a Massachusetts law which makes it a crime to stand on a public road or sidewalk within thirty-five feet of a reproductive health care facility violates the First Amendment..
This finding rocked reproductive justice activists back on their heels, and at the Minnesota Atheists January public meeting, two of these activists will explain why.
For the past several years, Niki Massey and Brianne Bilyeu have been volunteering as clinic escorts at an abortion clinic in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have seen what patients and their companions have experienced upon attempting to enter the building in which the clinic is located. On every business day of the clinic’s operation, there are anywhere between one and 20 abortion opponents gathered in front of the clinic. Some come to pray for the souls of the patient and the fetuses that will be aborted. Others attempt to stop patients and their companions to speak with them. If the patients stop, the protesters will offer medical misinformation, spiritual and relationship advice, and promises of pregnancy support and adoption help. There is always an element of religious evangelism involved in these gatherings.
Brianne and Niki believe that every person has a right to make the legal medical decision of abortion free from hindrance or harassment. They protest most vehemently the dispensing of medical advice from non-medical staff. They cringe at the blatantly misogynist and racist language and ideas that are employed in an attempt to sway patients from entering the clinic.
Please join Niki Massey and Brianne Bilyeu as they share the realities of on-the-ground reproductive justice activism.
Maplewood Library, 3025 Southlawn Drive, Maplewood, MN 55109
1:00-1:15 – Social time
1:15-1:45 – Business Meeting
1:45-2:00 – Break
2:00-3:30 – Reproductive Justice Activism
4:00-whenever – Dinner location TBA