Once again, on March 7 I read that a pro-life family services agency, the New Life Family Services' First Care Center in Minneapolis, was vandalized, a target of someone who apparently thinks such places are deceptive and coercive ("Mpls. pregnancy center vandalized"). I am not affiliated with that particular organization, but a quick glance at their website shows that it is readily apparent that they are a religious-based pro-life group. No woman who calls there should be surprised if she hears about alternatives to abortion as a possible solution to an unplanned pregnancy.
This mindset that all pregnancy care centers are doing women a disservice has also led to some people calling for an end to the Positive Alternatives grant money available to them. This program is described as "promoting healthy pregnancy outcomes and assisting pregnant and parenting women in developing and maintaining family stability and self-sufficiency." That this worthy goal has been effectively achieved through local groups of caring volunteers with the aid of small grants from our state's budget excess sounds efficient. Our state and federal bureaucracies are certainly not doing the job!
There seems to be great fear that women are being persuaded by deceptive means at the diverse group of organizations called pregnancy care centers to have their babies instead of an abortion. A woman's autonomy allows her to hear all voices and make up her own mind on such a momentous decision. A woman is no more likely to be coerced at a pregnancy care center than at a for-profit abortion clinic making money by providing termination of pregnancies. Freedom of choice requires that a woman has all the information she wants to guide her, and that whatever choice she makes, to give birth or to have an abortion, is equally respected and supported. Otherwise it's not really a choice, is it?
Karen Karn, Golden Valley
Anything but 'reasoned'
We, a group of local midwives, nurses and doulas, feel it is necessary to respond to Dr. Steve Calvin's opinion piece on Feb. 3 ("There's still time for reasoned restraint on abortion," Opinion Exchange).
As birth workers, we protect the sacred time spent bringing life into the world. We value maternal and newborn health equally. Which is why we find it essential that pregnant people have access to all the care they may need during their pregnancy — including termination.
We are shocked and appalled that Dr. Calvin would compare abortion access with firing a gun in a day care. For parents who have lost children in school shootings, this comparison is insulting, inaccurate and dishonors the memories of their children.
Dr. Calvin seems intent on living in a perfect world where abortion is never necessary. We are forced to disabuse him of the notion that such a world exists. He does not need to search far to hear plenty of reasons parents find an abortion necessary. Let us be clear: Necessary does not mean easy, trivial or lighthearted. Like any part of the birthing process, termination is hard. Making the decision to terminate a pregnancy is not one that parents make lightly.
It is precisely for that reason that birth centers should be allowed to provide abortion services. If you have ever been inside a birth center — which Dr. Calvin has because he is the founder of the Minnesota Birth Center — you will know it is a warm, cozy environment that offers an escape from the outside world. Closing that space to parents who are seeking an abortion sends the message that they are not worthy of a comfortable birth. It tells parents that their pregnancy does not deserve to end in such a beautiful room. It is, in effect, isolating and punishing parents for their decision.
We applaud the Minnesota Legislature for its work to remove the law banning abortion services in birth centers. We are proud to live in a state that values all areas of maternal health and we will continue to push to expand access for all people.
The anti-abortion legislation sweeping the nation is concerning. Just as concerning are the anti-abortion activists disguised as caring OB-GYNs living within our own community.
This letter was signed by the following local doulas, midwives and nurses: Elizabeth Eirwood, Laura Leatherman-Clark, Kari Michalski, Deborah Herman Juda, Brieana Davison, Meghan Hohenstein, Rebeka McRad, JoLynda Anderson, Dianne Hines, Jenna Galarneau, Izzy Adair, Christina Bussler, Rachel LaMachia Stephens, Jenell Fransen, Shea Roberts Gyllen, Jo Kucala, Tess Olson, Christina Owen, Aileen Larson, Bea Lyon, Naomi Stenson, Bria Florell, Tabitha Morrison, Brittany Irwin, Becky Slabiak, Melissa Ellis, Anya Helgeson, Kate Campbell, Jess Quinn, Hannah Sackett, Meghan Settingsgard, Ale Falco, Jillian Carpenter, Hannah Kangas, Mandy Landry and Rachel Voigt.
Off to a troubling start
Wednesday's and Thursday's Star Tribune serve further notice of newly elected Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty's approach to public safety ("Family of slain Brooklyn Park woman rebukes plea bargain offered to teen suspects," March 8, and "Judge: Juvenile plea deal must stand," March 9). This comes on the heels of her decision in early January to unnecessarily dismiss, in the middle of the trial, charges against a 35-year-old man accused of raping his 14-year-old cousin ("Rape case dismissed after lie to judge," Jan. 10). These are just two demonstrated examples of the limits of Moriarty's concern for the public in three months on the job.
Moriarty justifies her decision by saying that the individuals allegedly involved in the death of Zaria McKeever were only teenagers. She said her goal is to "treat kids like kids," and that kids that age "are impressionable, they are impulsive, they're easily manipulated and subjected to peer pressure."
I agree that it may be appropriate to describe the conduct of a teenager who drives down a road at a high rate of speed while texting as the product of youthful indiscretion, but it is yet another to ascribe the same label to one who allegedly takes a weapon, points it directly at another human being, and fires it at point-blank range with the intent to end that person's life.
What message is Moriarty sending to other juveniles who are contemplating violent acts? That if they want to kill someone, now is the time to act because they'll only spend a couple of years in a juvenile facility? Will adults now recruit these "impressionable" juveniles to do their dirty work with the promise of a light sentence? What message does it send about the worth of McKeever's life? What message does it send about Moriarty's definition of justice for the life that was taken, and the friends and family members who will suffer a lifetime for their loss?
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot learned last week of the importance the public places on its right to be safe. New York Mayor Eric Adams described Lightfoot's election loss as a wake-up call to all public servants that the public's safety is job No. 1.
The new county attorney is gambling that her "Moriarty sentence" will ensure that the two teenagers charged in the death of Zaria McKeever will learn their lesson and never again harm another individual. The question is, is it appropriate to expect the public to take that risk as well, or is another approach justified?
Mike Furnstahl, Spring Hill, Fla.
The writer is former assistant Hennepin County attorney.
So Gov. Tim Walz says young people under age 18 can make their own life-changing decisions on gender-affirming care ("Walz moves to protect gender-affirming care," March 9). But Moriarty says that science and studies say their minds and brains are not fully developed until the age of 25, as she demonstrated in the plea bargain she recently announced. So is Walz not following the science, or is Moriarty wrong?
Jon Sanford, Mora, Minn.