Are reproductive health rights protected in Minnesota?
Yes. Legal precedent in Minnesota continued to guarantee personal reproductive health decisions, including the right to an abortion, even after the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24, 2022, ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
To further protect reproductive health rights, the “Protect Reproductive Options” or PRO Act, was signed into law on January 31, 2023.
What is the “Protect Reproductive Options” (PRO) Act?
The PRO Act codifies reproductive freedom into Minnesota state law.
It upholds the protections provided in the 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision of Doe v Gomez. These protections include the “right to utilize contraception, family planning and fertility supports, the right to carry a pregnancy to term, and the right to an abortion.”
The law also prohibits local governments from enacting more restrictive provisions or limiting access to abortion.
Every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about the individual's own reproductive health
Every individual who becomes pregnant has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth, or obtain an abortion, and to make autonomous decisions about how to exercise this fundamental right
The Minnesota Constitution establishes the principles of individual liberty, personal privacy, and equality. Such principles ensure the fundamental right to reproductive freedom
A local unit of government may not regulate an individual's ability to freely exercise the fundamental rights set forth in this section in a manner that is more restrictive than that set forth in this section.
What is Minnesota’s history for protecting reproductive health decisions?
A women’s right to choose an abortion in Minnesota was protected by Minnesota Supreme Court, which ruled in the 1995 case Doe v. Gomez that abortion rights are protected by the state’s constitution.
On June 25, 2022, Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order providing legal protection to people from out of state who come to Minnesota for reproductive health services.
Executive Order 22-16 states: “To the maximum extent permitted under the United States and Minnesota Constitutions and Minnesota law, the Governor will decline to honor requests to extradite individuals who are accused of committing acts related to reproductive health care that are not criminal offenses in Minnesota.”
On July 11, 2022, a judge struck down most of Minnesota’s limited restrictions on abortions such as a 24-hour waiting period and parental notification for minors. The judge ruled they were unconstitutional “under a landmark 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling known as Doe v. Gomez.” The judge’s order took effect immediately. (Associated Press)
Will Minnesota become a refuge for abortion rights in the upper Midwest?
With the reversal of Roe v. Wade, neighboring states have restricted access to legal abortions. Abortion providers in Minnesota have seen an increase in patients. (MPR News story)
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison stated: “As Minnesota's chief legal officer and the chief protector of people’s rights in Minnesota, I am advising all people — whether from Minnesota or any other state — that regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs:
“No one who travels from another state to seek an abortion that’s legal in Minnesota will be prosecuted.
“No one from another state who has a miscarriage while in Minnesota will be prosecuted.
“No one helping someone else travel from another state to seek an abortion that’s legal in Minnesota will be prosecuted.
“No provider who travels from another state to provide an abortion that’s legal in Minnesota will be prosecuted.
“I will directly intervene to stop any such prosecution in Minnesota.
“I will oppose extradition requests from other states for people who’ve engaged in legal conduct in Minnesota.”