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NARAL Pro-Choice Montana Concerned with Connections of Crisis Pregnancy Center to Kalispell Clinic Shut Down
Hope Pregnancy Ministries continues to be the cause of great concern and skepticism in Kalispell, most recently after the Montana Human Rights Network (MHRN) released information that Michelle Reimer, director of Hope, bought the former building space of All Families Healthcare, effectively kicking Susan Cahill out. Cahill ran a family practice that provided first trimester abortions on Meridian Road in Kalispell until her building was purchased and she was forced to find another space. Hope Pregnancy Ministries is one of many crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in Montana—anti-choice organizations with a mission to block women from choosing abortion.
Cahill had only been open at the new space for a few weeks before Zachary Klundt brutally vandalized it, destroying everything. After the attack, MHRN learned that the suspect’s mother had been a board member at Hope. Now they find that the buyer of Cahill’s old clinic space is the director there. Director Reimer has addressed questions of Hope’s motive for purchasing the old clinic since the disclosure of the information. In an interview with Katrin Frye on Montana Public Radio, Reimer acknowledged they chose to purchase the property expressly because they thought it would end Cahill’s practice. In a statement to Democracy Now! she admitted that it was purchased "to advance the cause of life”. In Reimer’s words, they were "putting their money where their mouth is”. But now hundreds of families in the Flathead have lost their healthcare provider. Montanans should be extremely concerned about these events and the level of deception that appears to be at work. Intentionally blocking access to healthcare for hundreds of people because of disagreement regarding a legal medical procedure is a very serious act.
"It’s no secret that there are people who have wanted Susan out. The person who vandalized her clinic did so methodically and deliberately. Equipment, records, the plumbing and heating system—all destroyed. And all of her personal things were maliciously torn and stabbed. These were violent acts meant to scare and intimidate; and they were done by someone who was taught to hate with ferocity”, Maggie Moran, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Montana states. "It is unfortunate to find our skepticism about the crisis pregnancy center validated through these events. We have feared that pockets of violent extremism would resurface through anti-choice CPCs. This information, everything that’s happened to Susan—it’s devastating”.
NARAL Pro-Choice Montana’s investigative report, The TRUTH Revealed, released in October of 2013, illustrated the problems within CPCs, like Hope, of providing false information about abortion and contraceptives and deceptive advertising practices; the report also warned of connections to extreme, sometimes violent, anti-choice groups. Notably, Hope has also been the source of criticism before, when April Gaede, a prominent white supremacist, solicited donations on their behalf.
NARAL Pro-Choice Montana stands against violence and intimidation and is committed to protecting reproductive rights. We urge law enforcement to treat this awful vandalism as a federal crime under the Freedom of Access to Clinics Act. And we stress that Hope Pregnancy Ministries and other CPCs should be held accountable for practices and networks that encourage violence and hate. We cannot allow extremists to terrorize and intimidate healthcare providers and patients. We cannot condone corrupt, malicious, and violent action against a healthcare provider who has served the Flathead for decades, providing safe, compassionate, and legal care.
After the vandalism, a fundraising website to help Cahill went viral and donations have been pouring in from across the country. "We thank the thousands of supporters and are renewing, once again, our advocacy efforts to promote greater transparency in CPCs”, Moran said.