As 40 Days For Life Launches, Red River Clinic Prepares to Fight Back

It is once again the beginning of 40 Days for Life, an anti-choice harassment campaign aimed at protesting abortion clinics day in and day out in an effort to intimidate women out of obtaining abortions. Now in its fifth year, the 40 days will run from September 26th to November 4th, conveniently wrapping just in time for the 2012 election.

Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota, is a key target. As the only abortion provider in the state, Red River is often targeted by an anti-choice movement desperate to close the clinic and to make North Dakota “abortion-free.” This summer, Missionaries to the Preborn also protested at the clinic, as part of Operation Save America’s “States of Refuge” tour. Now, just a few months later, the clinic and its escorts are once again prepared to defend their practice and the women who seek access to safe, legal abortion care.

This year, clinic staff will be taking a few preemptive strikes at the anti-choice protesters who will gather day in and day out on the sidewalks in front of the building. The escorts have provided their own bicycles, which they will be chaining to the lampposts in front of the Red River Clinic, giving the 40 Days followers no place to put their own “bike cams.”

“The ‘bike cams’ are bicycle frames, but without the actual bike,” explains Caitlin, a Red River Women’s Clinic patient escort. “Instead, there is a camera on front and large batteries on the sides to keep it powered. The antis claim it’s to keep them safe, but they keep the cameras pointing at the doors of the clinic, not in the space where they are allowed to be. It’s obviously meant for nothing but intimidation.”

This hasn’t done much to stop the women who come to the clinic to get an abortion during the 40 Days campaign. According to Caitlin, the women are aware that these harassers will be on site, and they look for escorts to guide them through any potential chaos to the doors of the clinic. Escorts remind patients that they don’t have to speak to the protesters or accept the material that they offer them, but often the patients do anyway. “It’s the Midwest,” Caitlin says. “We tend to be really polite. If someone offers us something, we take it. If someone tries to talk to us, we tend to have a hard time just ignoring them.”

Even when the patients and the protesters do engage, Caitlin says she’s never seen any of the so called “saves” that 40 Days claims happen all the time on the sidewalks of abortion clinics. “I’ve never seen a woman change her mind,” Caitlin says. “She’s decided long before she comes. She’s just frustrated that they are there, and that we can’t do anything about them.”

The community itself is often frustrated by these protests, especially owners of the businesses surrounding the clinic. Many of them see their business drop because of congested sidewalks or graphic posters during the 40 days of protest. But some, such as the restaurant next door, will find a small upswing. Customers think it’s amusing to watch the antis try to intimidate women out of going to their appointments, proselytize about the evils of abortion and those involved in it, or sometimes just pray and sing.

“I once saw a woman bring an old, beat-up silver trumpet, which she obviously did not know how to play,” Caitlin says. “She then turned and blew it in four directions, saying she would make the walls of the clinic come crumbling down.”

The clergy had their own way of making their presence known. “One priest from a few blocks down would tell me about all of the horrors from our clinic,” Caitlin says. “That we gave our aborted fetuses to PepsiCo to make into drinks, or that Chinese abortionists ate fetuses and said they taste like chicken. He also informed me that I was pro-choice because my father didn’t love me enough.”

For the next 40 days, clinic escorts, armed with discount coffee provided by some of the neighboring businesses, will seek to keep the interactions between patients and protesters calm, as the inevitable anti-choice participants try to “counsel” patients out of carrying out their own personal medical decisions. Once, Caitlin was doused with “holy water” by a Roman Catholic priest and has seen nuns in habits tell women that abortion will only leave them the “mother of a dead baby.” Sadly, these interactions have become a too-familiar occurrence at Red River.

The 40 Days for Life protest will take place in front of 317 clinics, according to its website, and will have a presence in every state except Wyoming.

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  • achurray

    40 days for life is a peaceful movement. not harrassment! nothing but love! 

  • give-em-hell-mary

    It’s run by and for pedophile priests.

  • magilicuty

    Give me a break Achurray!  Protesting in front of abortion clinics for 40 days & nights is far far from peaceful anyway you look at it!  It’s called harrasment & intimidation!  I suppose using bike cameras is just a way to meet new friends?  I hope you peacful yourself!

  • thalwen

    Give these guys a break, all they’re doing is being friendly-like by telling the preggo sluts that they’re going to hell for murdering people more important than them. It’s all about life, see those cameras are just taking photos to show how hard clinic workers work, not to intimidate them or to encourage someone less-peaceful to kill them. Oh and the elections timing, pure coincidence.


    They are incorrect on one thing, fetuses taste like pork, not chicken and totally out of place in soft drinks, but fantastic in soup.

  • lindzanne

    But I counter-protest 40 days twice a year.  (More like we create a safe place for women to walk through as they try to enter clinics–we are not interested in engaging with hate).  You are very wrong.  I have been threatened, intimidated, shoved, screamed at, and been called horrible names and seen the exact same thing happening to the patrons of the clinics entering.  There is not a single time they show up at the clinic where the police are not called because of their tactics–blocking entrances, clustering around women and not allowing them to move forward into the clinic, threatening language, and physical threatening, etc.  40 days is a platform for harrassment and yes, even terrorism–and everyone knows it except the participants of 40 Days of Lies.  

  • colleen

    I had another mentally ill fundie make this claim of ‘love’ the other day when she was trying to get me to sign an petition ‘protecting’ marriage

    odd how closely right wing Christian  ‘love’ resembles contempt and hatred. You’ve become the sorts of people thoughtful parents don’t want their children to date or marry.

  • forced-birth-rape

    Pathological lying, child raping, wife beating, warmongering christians having their misogyny fest.



    St. Augustine said, “Any woman who acts in such a way that she cannot give birth to as many children as she is capable of, makes herself guilty of that many murders.”

    Martin Luther wrote: “God created Adam lord of all living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all. Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house and bear children. And if a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing; she is there to do it.”


    “Anders Behring Breivik christian terrorist, pro-forced-birther, killed seventy seven people.

    What he thinks about womens rights, women need to breed, breed, breed.

    1. Limit the distribution of birth-control pills (contraceptive pills): Discourage the use of and prevent liberal distribution of contraceptive pills or equivalent prevention methods. The goal should be to make it considerably more difficult to obtain. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points but would degrade women’s rights.

    2. Reform sex education: Reform the current sex education in our school institutions. This may involve limiting it or at least delaying sex education to a later age and discourage casual sex. Sex should only be encouraged within the boundaries of marriage. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points.

    3. Making abortion illegal: A re-introduction of the ban on abortion should result in an increased fertility rate of approximately 0,1-0,2 points but would strip women of basic rights.

    4. Women and education: Discourage women in general to strive for full time careers. This will involve certain sexist and discriminating policies but should increase the fertility rate by up to 0,1-0,2 points.

    Women should not be encouraged by society/media to take anything above a bachelor’s degree but should not be prevented from taking a master or PhD. Males on the other hand should obviously continue to be encouraged to take higher education – bachelor, master and PhD.”


    “Self-Described ‘Christian Counterpart To Osama Bin Laden’ Arrested In Plot To Bomb Abortion Clinic

    Justin Carl Moose describe “himself” as the Christian counterpart to Osama bin Laden.

    Moose wrote:

    “I have learned a lot from the muslim terrorists and have no problem using their tactics.”

    Each year about 890,000 women have abortions in Pakistan, and every day 10 women die because they had an unsafe abortion. Some 560,000 Filippina women have unsafe illegal abortions every year, with 90,000 suffering complications from the procedure and 1,000 dying.~


    Pro-forced-birthers favorite piece of literature of all time.

    Genesis 3:16

    “I will greatly multiply your grief and your suffering in pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing; with spasms of distress you will bring forth children. Yet your desire and cravings will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”


    “In the 1800′s when chloroform was introduced to the US to help ease the excruciating pain of childbirth for women, it was woman-hating Christians who fought against its permitted use on the grounds that easing women’s childbirth pain was contrary to God’s will. They cited the book of Genesis where God punishes women with the curse of pain in childbirth.”


    What pro-forced-birthers think of raped little girls.


    “Church excommunicates mother of 9-year-old rape victim – but not accused rapist.”

    A senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church’s decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.”

    “Police believe the girl was sexually assaulted for years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six. That she was four months pregnant with twins emerged only after she was taken to hospital complaining of severe stomach pains.”



    The southern baptist wife beating convention is the second biggest pro forced birth group in the world, after the child raping catholic church.


    “TIME ranks Southern Baptists’ rejection of sex-offender database as a top “underreported” news story of 2008″


    These people want more unwanted, unloved, unprotected, unvalued, virgin children to sexually terrorize, I know, I grew up with them.



  • forced-birth-rape

    What pro lifers think of women and their babies, proof they just want to hurt women and little girls, and they do not give a tiny damn about babies.

    “House Republicans have been facing a backlash after voting for a plan authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would dismantle Medicare while cutting taxes for the rich. But that plan also included deep cuts in discretionary spending, the destructiveness of which is becoming more apparent as the budget process moves forward.

    For instance, the Republican budget would implement a 15 percent cut in the agency tasked with policing oil markets, even with energy speculation at an all-time high. That same portion of the budget — which is being



    marked up by the House Appropriations agricultural subcommittee — would also cut $832 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a program that provides low-income women and children with food, counseling, and health care.”

  • wolfwytch

    Oh, they love you alright, as long as you do, say, act, wear, think and are every thing they want you to be…


    Oherwise, they love you to death, and wouldn’t piss on you, if you were on fire… see, it’d be your fault for not letting them love you into a little box that they find acceptable.


    Seriously, though, anyone who claims that harrassing someone is love, doesn’t know what love means. Seems that this so-called religion of love needs to learn what the definition of love really is.