It’s been one year since the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade.
The consequences of the ruling have been devastating. Since the decision, 15 states have ceased nearly all abortion services, and 13 states have near-total or total abortion bans, including our neighbors in North Dakota and South Dakota.
Today, more than 23 million women of reproductive age—one in three—live in one of the states with an abortion ban currently in effect.
But during the 2022 midterms, Minnesotans made it clear that they expected elected officials to act and protect reproductive freedom and elected the state’s first-ever pro-choice progressive trifecta.
Our progressive leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate, and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, worked tirelessly during the legislative session to champion bills that protect abortion access. And they fought back against conservatives trying to eliminate access to reproductive health care.
The PRO Act Codified the Right to Abortion in Minnesota
One of the very first bills Governor Tim Walz signed into law this year was The Protect Reproductive Options Act (PRO Act).
The PRO Act protects the right to contraception, the right to carry a pregnancy to term, the right to fertility treatment, and the right to an abortion. The bill also protects reproductive rights at all state government levels, meaning that a city or county cannot limit reproductive rights or abortion access.
Protecting Out-of-State Patients and Doctors
Even though the PRO Act codified the right to abortion for Minnesota residents, progressives also took measures to keep Minnesota a beacon of access to reproductive care in the Midwest.
With the right to abortion continuously under siege in our neighboring states, Governor Walz signed the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act to protect patients coming to Minnesota from a state that banned abortions and doctors who practice in Minnesota or outside Minnesota.
Conservatives Still Want to Ban Abortion in Minnesota
Even though our progressive trifecta secured the passage of these critical laws, every single conservative member of the Minnesota Senate voted against the PRO Act. And they even launched an informal filibuster to prevent the bill from passing the Senate.
The attack on abortion rights is ongoing and pervasive not just in our neighboring states but on the federal level.
Currently, a ruling awaits on whether to repeal FDA approval of a pregnancy management drug, mifepristone, that provides safe and effective medication abortion.
Not only could this ruling devastate abortion access for women across the country, but it has wide-sweeping implications for other essential health care services,
Four in ten OBGYNs in states where abortion is illegal report constraints on their ability to manage miscarriages and pregnancy-related medical emergencies.
And six in ten OBGYNs reported using mifepristone to manage miscarriages.
It’s clear that conservatives are pushing an extreme agenda to ban and restrict access to abortion at any cost, even peoples’ lives.
These out-of-touch policies not only attack our fundamental rights but could devastate the quality and safety of pregnancy care, access to contraception, LGBTQ+ rights, adoption, and so much more.
Minnesota Needs Pro-choice Leaders
We’re thankful to live in a state that values bodily autonomy and the fundamental right to abortion. And we’re grateful to our progressive leaders for taking bold action to codify abortion rights and protect patients and physicians from other states.
But, the ongoing attacks from conservatives on abortion rights are unacceptable. Minnesotans are sick and tired of having our rights put under attack.
We need to hold conservatives accountable for opposing the things that matter most so that we can continue to build a better Minnesota for the years to come.
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