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Welcome to the Family Beacon, your source for news and commentary on life, family, and religious freedom in Minnesota and beyond! 

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Notes From the Frontlines - John Helmberger, CEO

From Left: Director of Public Policy Veronica Missling, True North Legal General Counsel Renee Carlson, CEO John Helmberger & Randa Helmberger in front of SCOTUS. December 1, 2021.

Dear friends,

It was thrilling to be present at a pro-life rally on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States this week while oral arguments for the Dobbs v. Jackson case were going on inside. I had a sense that our team and I were truly living through history. I hope to soon be able to tell my grandchildren, “I was outside when the Supreme Court charted a course for LIFE in this country.”

One thing that struck me was the contrast between the pro-life crowd on one side, and the pro-abortion crowd on the other, separated by a metal barricade erected by the Capitol police, although in reality there were many pro-lifers on the other side of the fence, because pro-lifers had a vast advantage in numbers. 

But the difference went beyond the size of the two crowds. You could see it on their faces and hear it in their voices. Both sides saw the same thing coming - the approaching fall of the pro-abortion regime thrust on our nation by the Court’s abominable Roe v. Wade ruling nearly 49 years ago - but they reacted very differently to that prospect.

Looking at the pro-life side, there were smiles and looks of hopeful anticipation. Voices were cheerful and I even heard hymns sung. I saw signs asking for compassion for the unborn and for women. 

How different on the other side of the barricade! Instead of hopefulness and eager anticipation, faces were dark with bitterness and anger that was further evident in their harsh denunciations of what they also recognize is likely coming from the Court. Not a smile to be found!

It seemed to me that this reflected a great divide, between a culture that affirms and celebrates life, and a culture that glorifies and boasts of death. Nothing could underscore this contrast more starkly than a horribly sad thing that happened on the pro-abortion side of the fence. Three young women took abortion pills in front of a cheering pro-abortion crowd – right on the steps of the Supreme Court as the justices heard oral arguments inside. My first thought was of course to pray for these girls, who have been deeply wounded by a culture that has taught them that this is an acceptable, even good, thing to do. 

My second thought was a question: what has caused America to become a place where young women are encouraged by cheering crowds to take an abortion pill that will kill their baby and potentially cause them great harm as well? In a word, Roe v. Wade. This is what Roe has made us. And then another thought occurred to me: what if we are about to turn a corner? What if the days in which abortion is publicly glorified and celebrated on the steps of the Supreme Court are close to being over? What a blessing from God that would be!

At a dinner hosted that evening by Alliance Defending Freedom for all those who have contributed to this case at the Supreme Court, including our own Renee Carlson whose amicus brief on the case with University of St. Thomas professor Teresa Collett was joined by former Vice President Pence and other pro-life groups, it dawned on me how our work is just beginning. 

As you know, we have our own “Roe v. Wade” in Minnesota, called Doe v. Gomez (1995). This guarantees Minnesota women the “right” to abortion, even at taxpayer expense if they can’t afford it. If the Supreme Court rules in Dobbs in a way that overturns or guts Roe v. Wade, the focus will immediately shift from Washington to right here in St. Paul.

We need to be ready for that. I know that, with your help, we will be.


Renee Carlson in the Star Tribune: Why Roe Must Go

True North Legal General Counsel Renee Carlson Meets with Former Vice President Mike Pence. November 30, 2021.

Renee Carlson of our True North Legal initiative met with former Vice President Mike Pence this week in Washington, D.C. Pence's organization, Advancing American Freedom, signed on to True North Legal's brief to the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case. Read the brief here.

Renee and her co-author, University of St. Thomas professor Theresa Collett, discussed the societal implications of Roe, as discussed in their brief, in the Star Tribune. Read that piece here.

The conclusion of this piece is particularly striking: 

The collateral consequences of abortion are staggering, and the societal harms can no longer be ignored. We have been living under this cloud of deception for nearly 50 years, coexisting with a so-called "right" invented out of whole cloth long enough.

In its attempt to relieve women of the undue burden of bearing a child, the court must now give an answer for the undue burden it has imposed on society. We hope the court will use Dobbs v. Jackson to fundamentally alter abortion law in a direction that would safeguard the rights of children, and also the rights of women and girls.

Renee recorded a video about the implications of the Dobbs case - a must-watch! And finally, here's a video of Renee meeting with former Vice President Mike Pence. In this short clip, he says part of his widely-covered speech calling for an end to Roe v. Wade was drawn from the brief Renee co-wrote! 


Medical Journals Refused to Publish Study Showing the Reality of Abortion Regret

For years, the abortion industry has denied, downplayed, and deflected on any link between abortion and depression. Abortion proponents have insisted that post-abortion syndrome is a “makey-uppy thing” and denied the reality of abortion regret. In doing so, they have consistently trivialized the real experiences of women who have been harmed by the abortion industry and have suffered through abortion regret when faced with the realization that their abortion ended their child’s life.

Now, a pro-abortion researcher has come forward and said that the medical community resisted publishing his research pointing to a link between abortion and depression. Dr. David Fergusson’s 30-year longitudinal study was published in 2006. He recently told the New Zealand Herald that his study, which is frequently downplayed by the abortion industry, was rejected by three different medical journals, something that he said is very unusual, noting that his research team’s work is typically accepted the first time they submit it for publication. Although Fergusson himself is not pro-life, this study, which presents strong evidence against an abortion industry talking point, was stifled.

Fergusson’s study found that 42% of women who had undergone an abortion in the past four years struggled with depression — over twice the rate of women who had not undergone an abortion. In addition to the difficulty he faced in getting his results published, Ferusson has faced pushback in the years since publication. "Because it's not 'completely conclusive', then they say we know nothing,” Fergusson told the New Zealand Herald,

But no science is completely conclusive - it's cumulative. Our study is strongly suggestive of a link between abortion and developing mental illness. What people should be saying is, 'This is interesting ... we need to invest more to answer this important question'.


The Family Beacon, Season 1, Episode 19: Minnesota After Roe

In this special episode of the Family Beacon, we're sharing Moses Bratrud's speech to 100 pro-life activists outside the Warren Berger Federal Courthouse in St. Paul on Wednesday, as oral arguments were going on at the Supreme Court in the Dobbs v. Jackson case. Moses's message is that the focus of the pro-life movement in Minnesota must shift from Washington to St. Paul to protect the women and children under threat from abortion in our state. Moses was also interviewed by KSTP about his message: watch here. Get the facts and stand for truth with new episodes every week from the Family Beacon!


Minnesota Leadership Forum, December 15th - Get Tickets Now!

Some tickets are STILL AVAILABLE for our gubernatorial debate on December 15th! Get your seats now!

Join Minnesota Family Council, and cosponsors AM1280 The Patriot, Freedom Club, and Alpha News, for the Minnesota Leadership Forum, an evening with conservative candidates for Governor of Minnesota.

Moderated by national radio talk show host and author Hugh Hewitt, the evening will allow the candidates to highlight where they stand on issues that matter to pro-life, pro-family, and pro-freedom voters.

The leading candidates will be on stage together for a forum with Hugh and Minnesota Family Council CEO John Helmberger in the beautiful environs of the Performing Arts Center at Providence Academy in Plymouth. We'll ask these candidates the tough questions that matter to conservative voters.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear Senator Michelle Benson, Mayor Mike Murphy, Doctor Scott Jensen, Senator Paul Gazelka, and Doctor Neil Shah all on the same stage as they speak on why they deserve your support at the February caucuses. A straw poll will be conducted at the forum.

WHEN: December 15, 2021. Doors Open 6 PM. Forum Begins 6:30 PM. 

VIP Reception Before Forum - 5:15 PM - 6:15 PM. VIP tickets available HERE.  Appetizers will be served 


LEAD Registration is Open - Sign Your Teen Up for Our Leadership Camp (July 24-29, 2022)

LEAD Registration is NOW OPEN!

Who: Highschool students ages 13–19. 

What: A hands-on leadership and worldview camp designed to equip the next generation of Christian leaders to engage the culture. 

When: July 24-29, 2022 

Why: LEAD equips the next generation by providing students with an opportunity to strengthen their worldview, develop leadership skills, and learn the legislative process! 

LEAD is designed to equip students for a lifetime of culture-shaping impact! At the beginning of the week, students are sworn in as members of the Minnesota House and Senate. As they take on the responsibilities of lawmakers, they get to learn the legislative process in a memorable, hands-on way while working with real bills that have been proposed here in our state! 

Throughout the week, students also study biblical worldview and think about how the gospel shapes our response to tough cultural issues, hear from renowned speakers on topics like the sanctity of life, and grow in leadership skills as they work with their caucus to pass their legislation.  

We hope to see your teen at LEAD next summer! Click here to learn more and register. Watch the LEAD 2022 video now.


Did you know that when you shop with Amazon Smile, Amazon makes a donation to Minnesota Family Institute at no cost to you? You can support LIFE, FAMILY, and RELIGIOUS FREEDOM while you shop by clicking here (smile.amazon.com/ch/41-1439560) or with AmazonSmile ON in the Amazon Shopping app and AmazonSmile donates to Minnesota Family Institute. Bookmark Amazon Smile in your browser so that Amazon will donate every time you make a purchase!


Get the Parent Resource Guide

Responding to the transgender trend with truth and compassion starts with the Parent Resource Guide. Get your copy HERE today and invite a friend to do the same! Click to order your copy today:


Thank you for sharing Minnesota Family Council’s vision for strong families, communities and culture through Christ. As we rise to meet challenges at the state and federal level, we need your support now more than ever. Click here to give now. We are grateful for your partnership with us through prayer and financial support.

For life, family, and religious freedom,

John Helmberger, CEO

Minnesota Family Council and Institute

Minnesota Family Council
2855 Anthony Lane S, Suite 150 | Minneapolis, Minnesota  55418-3265
612-789-8811 | [email protected]

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