Pro-Life Action Ministries sues Minneapolis over city code prohibiting disruption of access to reproductive healthcare facilities

St. Paul-based Pro-Life Action Ministries is suing the city of Minneapolis over a city code that prohibits disruption of access to reproductive health care facilities.

Chapter 405, titled “Security of Reproductive Healthcare Facilities,” prohibits the disruption of access to reproductive healthcare and was signed in November 2022. This includes occupying the driveway of a facility.

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In the lawsuit, Pro-Life Action Ministries notes that its volunteers partake in “sidewalk counseling” outside of the Minneapolis Planned Parenthood location, with the goal of conveying alternatives to abortion. Some of these interactions take place in the facility’s driveway.

Pro-Life Action Ministries alleges that Minneapolis is violating the organization’s free speech by limiting sidewalk counseling, according to the lawsuit.

Pro-Life Action Ministries released a statement that says, in part:

The Minneapolis ordinance, Chapter 405, enacted in November 2022, deliberately attempts to stifle our peaceful offers of life-affirming alternatives and support to pregnant women and their companions outside the Minneapolis Planned Parenthood abortion facility. In fact, the ordinance also restricts the constitutional right of Planned Parenthood clients to associate with us and access our life-affirming choices that are now being repressed.

The offending Chapter 405 of the Minneapolis City Code prohibits disrupting access to reproductive healthcare facilities and occupying driveways. It defines these activities in a way that makes calm, polite invitations to converse, from the public right-of-way, difficult to achieve. Essentially, it created (in collusion with Planned Parenthood) ‘an unconstitutional, content-based exclusion zone solely for the purpose of shutting down pro-life speech outside abortion facilities.’ The City of Minneapolis can’t do that; it violates the Constitution.

Thomas Wilkin, a plaintiff in the lawsuit

In a statement sent to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said:

“Abortion is healthcare and we full-heartedly stand by this ordinance. This is not about limiting free speech, it’s about protecting community members from being physically disrupted while seeking the reproductive care they need and deserve.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

No hearing date has been scheduled on the lawsuit.