Flip Benham and his anti abortion cohorts have developed a loose coalition of like-minded street preachers to save five states from abortion. In what he imagines as a “national vision to expand a concept discovered in the Old Testament,” Benham believes they will be successful in closing the one remaining abortion clinic in Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Mississippi. Launching this campaign in Fargo North Dakota to create what he imagines as a “state of refuge” from abortion, Benham’s vision was like a catechism for draconian righteousness of the regime of reproduction. Imagining himself as the high priest for moral order, Flip has been waging a war on abortion by breaking the law when threatening the lives of physicians, misinterpreting the bible to suit his agenda and wasting municipal resources when his ill-conceived protests require police coverage. Like the war on terror that mixes allegory with actuality, Benham’s war on abortion is a dyslexic moniker for a war on good women who need the services of the targeted clinics. He and his apostles of perpetual psychosis think it is socially, morally and politically acceptable to chant vicious and demented assertions in a public arena.
But the Fargo community response to the State of Refuge campaign was typical. People were outraged at the grotesque images that protesters trot out, inconvenienced by the crowded sidewalks and disgusted by the group’s use of small children tasked with leafleting in traffic. Reports from the only clinic were also typical. No woman changed her mind to keep her appointment for an abortion. Rather than a state of refuge, Fargo became a state of refusal—refusing to give in to Christo-fascists bullies, evangelistic thugs, and shame-mongering dogs.
After Fargo, the klavern of counterfeit prophets will move their altars of hatred to the remaining states. And, I suspect, they will once again demonstrate that their sacred delusions and rabid theology will create yet another state of refusal.