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MN Reproductive Freedom Legislative Agenda: We’re not done yet!

Minnesota Capitol, gray sky, autumn grasses and flowers in foreground. Photo by Kelli Clement

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, reproductive freedom across the country is under assault, subject to a patchwork of laws restricting or outlawing abortion. In many states, pregnant people seeking abortions and healthcare providers must navigate arcane and confusing rules. In Minnesota, thanks to our historic pro-reproductive freedom majority in the Minnesota Legislature, we can make sure that reproductive freedom is protected and expanded by passing a bold legislative agenda. Minnesotans are overwhelmingly in support of safe and accessible abortion care, without shame and stigma. And our elected officials need to be reminded of this.

Passing the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act (HF1/SF1) was a great start to the legislative session, and it was not enough. The PRO Act establishes the fundamental right of Minnesotans to make individual decisions about reproductive health care, including contraception, abortion, and pregnancy. It was signed into law on February 1, 2023.

But we’re not done yet. It’s crucial that three other bills get passed to protect abortion rights and expand access.

Reproductive Freedom Codification Act (HF91/SF70) repeals Minnesota’s abortion restriction laws, including the two-parent notification law for minors, the mandatory 24-hour delay on people seeking abortion, the requirement that providers recite a state-mandated script of misinformation about abortion to patients, the ban on advance practice non-physician clinicians providing abortion, the requirement that fetal tissue resulting from either abortion or miscarriage be either buried or cremated, and more. Several of these laws were struck down as unconstitutional in the Doe v. MN lawsuit, of which FUS was an original plaintiff. Now it’s important that we remove these statues from the MN law books.

Reproductive Freedom Defense Act (HF366/SF165) enacts strong protections for anyone in MN seeking abortion care, as well as the providers who care for them – safeguarding all from prosecution under laws aimed at imposing other states’ restrictions on us.

Positive Pregnancies Act (HF289/SF336) bans state grant recipient agencies from encouraging clients toward one pregnancy outcome over another, requires agencies to provide pregnant people with medically accurate information and services about abortion and pregnancy, and more. This bill reforms the existing Positive Alternatives to Abortion Act, a $3 million program, which directs most of its budget to Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

Here’s what you can do to help now: Reach out to your legislators and ask them to support these bills. Let them know that you are part of the First Unitarian Society. It is so important to let our elected know that we support reproductive justice out of our ethical and humanist values. Ask them if they are a member of the MN Reproductive Freedom Caucus in the MN Legislature; if they are not, tell them you’d like them to join it. And then reach out to your friends and family in greater MN and ask them to do the same.

In anticipation of the federal court ruling on Mifepristone, here’s what MN Senator Erin Maye Quade (D) had to say:

“So, let’s talk about medication abortion. Medication abortion is common. It accounts for more than 50 percent of all abortions in the United States and in Minnesota. It is safe. It is safer than over the counter Tylenol, safer than Viagra, safer than penicillin, and it is very effective. That’s why people utilize it. Should this judge succeed in his goal in banning this first drug in a two-part abortion regimen, it will have devastating consequences for the entire country, and in particular Minnesota. It will be the first time that abortion will have been restricted in this state since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. There’s this sense in Minnesota, not incorrectly, that abortion is legal here, and that it will remain legal here. Well, there’s nothing that state legislators are doing to make it illegal, and there is nothing that the federal government is currently able to do to make it illegal. I don’t think folks really anticipated this sideways entry through the courts system via the FDA as the plan, but the Alliance Defending Freedom, the LGBTQ hate group, the anti-abortion group, this has been their goal. Because the goal has always been to ban abortion, and the anti-abortion movement often uses this horrifying fake future rhetoric to distract from the horrifying reality that they’ve created now.”

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