Minnesota Democrats have introduced legislation that could criminalize anyone who would engage in nonviolent protest or pro-life counseling outside an abortion center.
This legislation sets up the punishment of a gross demeanor for anyone who would call a “reproductive health services facility” to disrupt the “normal functioning” of the facility. While it is already illegal to physically stop people from entering the facility, the legislation takes things further by including nonviolent speech including calling an abortion facility or providing counseling.
Christian and pro-life groups often gather around abortion centers to pray and provide love and support to those who might be pressured to get an abortion. Pro-Life Action Ministries described the efforts as “Thousands of people are alive today because someone reached out to their mothers with love and truth as they were entering abortion centers. This outreach is called “sidewalk counseling” and it is done by Christians all over the country. It is effective and legal”
Another implication is that operations such as Project Veritas could come into legal trouble if they use a phone to get information from a clinic. While the bill says ”nothing in this section shall be used to impair any constitutionally protected activity or activity protected by law.”, this bill will likely to set off an expensive court battle when a clinic claims that using a cell phone to document a conversation can be seen as “intentionally disrupting the normal functioning” of an abortion center.
Previously pro-life and conservative activists have been victims of assault by pro-abortion activists.