Anti-abortion truck visits city on N.D. tour
As part of a 10-day tour through North Dakota, 38 members of Missionaries to the Preborn – a group from Milwaukee – stopped in Rugby on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.
The group spent much of Monday evening walking door-to-door with a flyer urging residents to vote yes on Measure 1 in November. The measure, if approved, would amend the state constitution to provide for the “inalienable right to life” at every stage of human development. The amendment would ban abortion and define life as beginning at conception.
The group travels with a truck, including graphic images of aborted fetuses on both sides. The back of the truck includes an image of a fetus and messages including “America! Your hands are covered with blood.” A message was added to the bottom of the back side reading “Vote Yes Measure 1.” That message changes depending on what state the group is touring in.
Jim Soderna was driving the truck and has been a leader with the group since its inception in 1990.
“The main focus is encouraging people to vote yes,” Soderna said Tuesday at a Rugby carwash, before leaving for Grafton.
Missionaries to the Preborn is a non-denominational group, which pickets once a month in Milwaukee when not traveling. The organization’s website says the group has helped close six of the eight abortion clinics in Milwaukee.
Soderna said they were well received in Rugby and Minot. Kathy Steen, of Rugby, spoke with members of the group while on a walk Monday. She also saw the truck and Soderna on Tuesday morning.
“It was a new experience for me,” said Steen, wife of Pastor Nathan Steen at Glad Tidings Assembly of God. “They were very gentle. I used to think people who stood outside abortion clinics were different than you or I.”
Soderna said the group was not well received Aug. 11 in Williston, where police arrested the group’s leader, Rev. Matthew Trewhella – who has served time on disorderly conduct charges, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
A Williams County clerk of court said Trewhella was being held Tuesday afternoon on a charge of disorderly conduct. A bond hearing was not set at the time. Soderna said police said the images merited the misdemeanor charge.
“They said you have cover those images and police escorted us out of town,” Soderna said. “Just because it’s offending people doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to do it.”
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