Abortion activists in Minnesota have filed a lawsuit that threatens to overturn all of the state’s abortion laws. If it is successful, the suit would essentially open the door to unrestricted abortion in the state.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two unnamed women and the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. These groups, represented by Gender Justice and The Lawyering Project, claim that a 1995 Supreme Court decision made a number of current abortion regulations unconstitutional.
“Minnesota’s abortion laws are not only outdated, they’re harmful,” claimed Megan Peterson, executive director of Gender Justice. “Far too often they prevent people from getting the care they need when they need it. They force providers to follow politically motivated mandates, rather than best practices and standards of care.”
While Peterson calls the laws “harmful,” the current statutes all work to protect women. According to Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), a pro-life activist group in the state, the laws which the suit seeks to abolish include the following:
- Parental notification for any minor desiring an abortion
- Women’s Right to Know Act, which ensures that women are fully informed of their options before committing an abortion. (This law saved nearly 2,500 babies from abortion in 2018.)
- A physician requirement which mandates that abortionists must be medical doctors
- The abortion data reporting, which collects data regarding abortions in the state
- Fetal disposal law, which ensures that the remains of aborted children are collected in a dignified way
“This is a very extreme and far-reaching lawsuit,” said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. “It targets reasonable and commonsense laws that have been in place for decades and that have helped thousands of people.”
“Women have a right to informed consent,” he added. “Parents should be notified when their minor children are undergoing abortion. Minnesotans should know about how abortion is practiced in our state. Yet the lawsuit seeks to undermine all of this.”
The state of Minnesota and a number of state officials are named in the lawsuit, including Attorney General Keith Ellison, an outspoken supporter of abortion rights. If the suit goes to trial, Ellison will be responsible for defending the state’s current statutes. Despite his personal convictions, Ellison has released a statement saying he will work to uphold the law.
“I am also Minnesota’s chief legal officer,” he said. “In that capacity, I have a duty to defend the constitutionality of Minnesota statutes and will do so in this case. We will review the complaint as soon as we are served, will evaluate our strategy, and will respond in due course.”
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