Minnesota Democrats move quickly to codify abortion access in state law

A swift proposal to get access to abortion into Minnesota law cleared the first legislative hurdle on Thursday, a fresh start on issues that have been static for years under a divided government. Indicates urgency.

Abortion rights advocates and abortion opponents filled the House hearings, providing more than an hour of emotional testimony on the issue. It was the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned her Roe v. Wade decision this summer and sent abortion issues back to individual states. .

“What happened to Low could happen in Minnesota,” said Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn of the DFL-Eden Prairie, which sponsored the House proposal. “In just a few months, 15 states across the country have banned abortion.”

In Minnesota, access to abortion is protected by the 1995 Doe v. Gomez Supreme Court decision, but there is no law legalizing the procedure. Democrats, who now hold his three powers in St. Paul, clarified access into state law, arguing that a future set of Minnesota Supreme Court justices could overturn that precedent, as did Law. moving quickly to do so.

When abortion opponents and Republican lawmakers criticized the proposal as “one of the most extreme” in the country for not including parental notification requirements or restrictions on abortion after a certain point in pregnancy, the opposition too. It became clear.

“It’s an abomination,” said R-North Rep. Anne Neu Brindley. “The entire civilized world recognizes that some limits are necessary,” she said.

The proposal, called the Protect Reproductive Options Act, would define reproductive health care by allowing all individuals who become pregnant “to make autonomous decisions about whether to continue the pregnancy and have an abortion, and how to do this.” It states that it has a fundamental right to Fundamental rights, according to the text of the bill.”

Minnesota has become a haven for procedures in the region because neighboring states such as South Dakota and Wisconsin have banned most abortions. People traveling to Minnesota are up 13%, says Dr. Sarah Traxler, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood North Central States.

“We see the reality of people being forced to travel out of state for abortion treatment,” Traxler said. “Access to abortion in Minnesota is critical right now for Minnesotans and people across the country.”

People from all walks of life in Minnesota traveled through the snow to St. Paul to testify first-hand about the bill, and many shared personal stories about how the issue of abortion affected their lives. shared. Tammy Barry of Belgas, Minnesota, said when her 17-year-old daughter had an abortion and was struggling with the decision, she didn’t tell her until the procedure was over.

“The grief is real. The aftermath of that decision is devastating,” she said. I didn’t tell her.”

Liz Padilla testified that she was 18 weeks pregnant and was thrilled to be pregnant with a boy. I was.

“I was devastated. And because I was still pregnant, I felt trapped,” she said. It has given me the freedom to live, and it has ended my suffering.”

A Ramsay County judge in July expanded access to abortions in Minnesota, requiring two parents to be notified for minors and a requirement that only a doctor, not another doctor, perform an abortion. and withdrew long-standing restrictions. Also on Thursday, an anti-abortion women’s group argued in court to appeal the ruling.

In the Capitol, Republicans tried to add restrictions on third-term abortion to the bill except for rape and incest, and when the mother’s life was threatened, but Democrats said such abortions were rare. The proposal passed the House Welfare and Finance Committee in a partisan vote.

The bill would include counseling related to contraception, sterilization, family planning and abortion under the definition of reproductive health care, while local governments would enact their own ordinances to limit access to abortions. is also prohibited. In December, the city council of Princeburg, Minnesota, rejected an attempt to allow residents to sue abortion providers.

At the Capitol, the issue of abortion remained unresolved for years. In the Capitol, a split government prevented either party from seriously pursuing efforts to limit or expand access to proceedings. But Minnesota Democrats attribute their narrow majority in the House and Senate to outrage from voters over Roe’s overthrow.

Democrats say they have won a majority in both houses of Congress for abortion rights for the first time in the state’s history. Both the House and Senate have submitted proposals to codify access as first bills. This is a symbolic move that shows united support.

A proposal to codify abortion rights could land on the desk of Gov. Tim Walz, who has promised to sign the law this month. Democrats are also moving to remove outdated language related to abortion from state laws and may pass legislation to protect people who travel to Minnesota for abortion procedures.

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