Minnesota Senate passes abortion bill opponents call ‘most extreme’ in nation

Minnesota Senate passes abortion bill opponents call ‘most extreme’ in nation

After 15 hours of contentious debate, the Minnesota Senate early Saturday morning passed legislation guaranteeing the right to abortion, a bill that pro-life Republicans have called “the most extreme” in the nation.

The Reproductive Options Protection (PRO) Act passed the state Senate 34-33, after Republicans tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill 35 times. The bill states that “every individual has the fundamental right to make autonomous decisions regarding their own reproductive health.”

Democrats had fast-tracked the legislation in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last summer to overturn Roe v. Wade – ending federal abortion protections. While the right to abortion was previously guaranteed in a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision, Doe v. Gomez, abortion rights activists and Democrats said the PRO law was needed to codify abortion rights into state law, as well as birth control, fertility rights. treatment and pregnancy.

“What Minnesotans are afraid of is seeing, potentially, what happened at the federal level with our United States Supreme Court could possibly, in the future, happen here in Minnesota,” said Senator Jennifer McEwen, Democrat of Duluth, sponsor of the bill. “The decisions of our courts, the respect of our fundamental human rights, are only as solid as the judges. who support them. »



MINNESOTA SENATE WEIGHS MORE LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR ABORTION

Anti-abortion protesters from both sides fill the halls outside the Minnesota Senate chamber Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota.
(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

On Friday, pro-life and pro-choice protesters took to the Minnesota State Capitol to voice their opinions on the PRO law.

On Friday, pro-life and pro-choice protesters took to the Minnesota State Capitol to voice their opinions on the PRO law.
(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

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Supporters of the bill say it won’t change the status quo in Minnesota.

“PRO Law consolidates the human rights of Minnesotans into state law and is an insurance policy that our rights will not be taken away by politicians or judges,” said Dr. Sarah Traxler, MD -head of Planned Parenthood North Central States.

“All I want, and Minnesota doctors want, is to provide the best possible care to our patients. And by passing PRO into state law, the Minnesota Legislature will allow us to do just that. “, she added in a press release. .

OHIO CITY RELAXES RESTRICTIONS ON ABORTION UNDER PRESSURE FROM ACTIVISTS

The Minnesota Senate on Saturday passed a bill to enshrine broad protections for the right to abortion in state law, which would make it difficult to overturn future courts.

The Minnesota Senate on Saturday passed a bill to enshrine broad protections for the right to abortion in state law, which would make it difficult to overturn future courts.
(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

Opponents disagree, arguing that the bill establishes a right to abortion up to the moment of birth. Republicans had tried to amend the bill with “guardrails” that would restrict third-trimester abortions, but the newly elected Democratic majority blocked their amendments.

“Today, we are not only codifying Roe vs. Wade or Doe v. Gomez, as the author indicated, we are enacting the most extreme bill in the country,” Republican Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson of East Grand Forks said during the debate.

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The PRO law is now heading to Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s office for his signature. He said he supported the bill and would sign it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.