It is no secret the 2023 legislative session set back Minnesota’s pro-life movement, especially regarding the protection of women and girls’ health and safety. But there is no time for lamentations. Instead, we must move forward in a united and collaborative way to create a state where every preborn child is welcomed in life and respected by law.
But what does that look like, and how do we get there? These were questions posed at the Pro-Life Leadership Summit on Sept. 27.
This vital summit — spearheaded by the Minnesota Catholic Conference and other key partners — brought together more than 140 pro-life leaders including medical professionals, pregnancy resource center staff, lobbyists, lawyers, sidewalk counselors, post-abortive women, parish leaders, pastors and others. The goal was to start a discussion about building a movement dedicated to making abortion unlawful, unnecessary and unthinkable.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis opened the summit by acknowledging the discouragement felt in Minnesota following the brief jubilation of the Dobbs decision. He emphasized the importance of the pro-life community coming together with respect for the complementarity of gifts and roles within the movement and with a renewed commitment to creating a common vision. This hope for renewal can strengthen our mission and provide us a common path forward to incorporate others into the work.
Attendees agreed with the archbishop’s call for unity and collaboration. The summit provided the space for all areas of the movement to freely share their successes, challenges and hopes. Although not everyone may agree with one another all the time, cultivating space for frank discussions and strategic conversations in a respectful manner is an important component in moving us forward together.
A key takeaway from the summit is the desire to build on common principles and identify new modes of collaboration. The end goal we all share is to reduce abortions in Minnesota by offering a winsome defense of the humanity of the unborn and by walking with women in need.
What is next?
Difficulties we face in the courts, legislature and culture emphasize the importance of generating a unified movement.
During the 2024 session, we expect pro-abortion proponents to continue pushing. In Illinois, for example, a new law imposes another level of control over the speech used at pregnancy resource centers and ultimately requires them to refer for abortions. We will likely see this bill, and others, introduced in Minnesota.
In the courts, a group of MOMS — Mothers Offering Maternal Support — is working to challenge the Doe v. Minnesota ruling in state district court that struck down the parental notification requirement for minors seeking abortions. The ruling puts young girls in danger should any complications occur after they leave the abortion facility.
Ultimately, this battle goes beyond the legislature and courts. It is in the hearts and minds of ourselves, our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and communities.
If you are unsure how to share your pro-life convictions, watch our 90-minute webinar featuring Emily Albrecht to learn practical dialogue tips for changing hearts and minds: mncatholic.org/practical_dialogue_tips.
Action Alert: Walk with moms in need
Throughout Respect Life Month (but also year-round) we encourage you to learn more about the practical ways you can walk with moms in need. Visit civilizationoflove.net/october to take the challenge and share your story.