Gov. Mark Dayton has had much reason to avoid his own house lately. While 400 anti-abortion rights protesters bowed their heads and prayed for the sinful state of Minnesota just beyond the gates of his mansion, the governor stayed well clear.
Busloads of churchgoers, ministers, and Republican lawmakers gathered on Summit Avenue on Wednesday night in what organizers dubbed a “firestorm rally” in “spiritual warfare.” Their unholy enemy: Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, which recently rejoined the national controversy over undercover videos purporting to show that the women’s healthcare giant sells aborted baby parts for profit.
Earlier this summer, abortion clinic-busters Center for Medical Progress began to release a series of videos capturing top Planned Parenthood officials discussing donations of fetal tissue for research. The videos focused on doctors describing the abortion process in graphic detail, striking out repeated mentions that donation fees were for shipping and handling and not for profit.
Nationwide, Republican governors have launched investigations into their Planned Parenthood affiliates, and Minnesota lawmakers want the same. A group of 65 Republicans signed a letter to Dayton in late July requesting a full investigation of what Planned Parenthood is or isn’t doing to fetuses in this state. Dayton waved it off, saying he was satisfied with Planned Parenthood of Minnesota’s assertion that it does not even have a fetal tissue donation program.
But in the latest undercover video, Perrin Larton with California-based tissue donation company Advanced Bioscience Resources tells Center for Medical Progress actors that ABR procures from clinics in “San Diego, in Oregon, in Minnesota, and we soon will be starting in New Jersey and Philadelphia.”
Larton could not be reached for comment. It is not clear what exactly ABR procures from Minnesota, and what clinics they partner with.
That name-drop was fuel to reignite pressure on the governor to investigate Planned Parenthood. Joined by a dozen Republican lawmakers, the crowd outside his residence demanded that Dayton “repent, investigate, and defund Planned Parenthood.” Or, as long as the defunding takes place, they could take or leave the other steps.