Pro-life health clinic sues Minnesota governor, calling for ban on some abortions during pandemic

A pro-life health clinic in White Bear Lake leads a group of plaintiffs suing Minnesota leaders and health providers, calling for surgical abortions to be prohibited at Planned Parenthood and other health centers during the pandemic.

In the lawsuit, AALFA Family Clinic cites concerns over the shortage of protective equipment during the COVID-19 outbreak as the primary concern. The pro-life group argues that forcing the clinics to use medication rather than surgery would conserve protective gear needed in the pandemic. They argue abortion clinics should be included under Governor Walz's ban on elective procedures.

However, a ban on surgical abortions would limit options for women seeking the procedure. Officials say the abortion pill is only safe up until 11 weeks. After that point, in-clinic procedures are recommended.

A Planned Parenthood spokesperson said in an email that, during the pandemic, doctors and patients have used the abortion pill as a way to limit contact.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood North Central States CEO Sarah Stoesz said the lawsuit was based on "fantasy" and that medical opinion is clear: Abortions are necessary procedures. 

“We are in full compliance with the Governor’s orders and have been from day one," said Stoesz. "Abortion is essential health care, as has been confirmed by a wide range of medical experts including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

"This lawsuit is based on fantasy, not fact and has been filed by individuals who promote information and services that are medically inaccurate, deceptive and harmful," Stoesz added. "At Planned Parenthood, we will continue to provide the science-based, expert reproductive health care that our patients and communities know and expect from us, in full compliance with the state requirements during this pandemic."