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Do you know the abortion laws in Minnesota?

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82% of Minnesota voters think abortion should not be political.

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Restriction Laws

Do you know the abortion laws in Minnesota?

As the current political environment around access to abortion becomes more intense, Minnesotans have the right to know the current laws, their rights, and their freedoms under our state’s constitution.

The Minnesota Constitution protects our right to have an abortion and the decision to have one. But most Minnesotans are not aware of how their rights are currently restricted and what access to abortion care looks like in our state. Since 1995, lawmakers in Minnesota have proposed nearly 400 new laws restricting abortion access, intimidating providers, misleading patients, and increasing costs. Deciding whether or when to become a parent is about freedom and control over our lives at our most basic level: our bodies, our families, our life’s path. Minnesotans respect each other’s rights, freedoms, and the independence to make our own decisions without the state government or strangers trying to sway us one way or the other.

Let’s remove politics from our health care.

Restriction

Mandate doctors provide medically-irrelevant information to patients

Minnesota Restriction

Mandate doctors provide medically-irrelevant information to patients

Anti-abortion legislators have mandated exactly what doctors must tell patients before they are allowed to have an abortion. This script includes medically irrelevant information, like suggesting a false link between abortion and breast cancer. Even if a doctor believes the information may cause harm to the patient, the doctor could risk losing their medical license if they do not follow the script. Doctors already counsel patients and obtain informed consent based on the risks and benefits of the treatment; abortion is the only medical procedure about which lawmakers have mandated exactly what doctors must tell their patients.

Mandated script graphic
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Prevent advanced-practice clinicians from providing abortion care

Minnesota Restriction

Prevent advanced-practice clinicians from providing abortion care

Even when they are medically trained to do so, providers other than physicians could be charged with a felony crime if they prescribe medication abortion or provide the procedure early in pregnancy. Advanced-practice clinicians, like nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, are allowed to provide early abortion care in other states, including Montana and West Virginia. There is no other medical care, aside from abortion, that politicians have made it a crime for medical professionals to provide when they are medically trained to do so.

Female nurse graphics
Restriction

Mandate doctors talk about a man’s obligation to child support

Minnesota Restriction

Mandate doctors talk about a man’s obligation to child support

State law requires doctors to provide this information before a person is allowed to have an abortion, even if the doctor believes this information may cause emotional harm to a patient — and if a doctor does not share it, they would risk losing their medical license.

Doctor Graphic
Restriction

Mandate fetal tissue be cremated or buried

Minnesota Restriction

Mandate fetal tissue be cremated or buried

This law is based on the beliefs of anti-abortion activists, not standard medical or public health safety protocols. Mandating this not only increases cost of care, but may go against the wishes or religious beliefs of a patient.

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Restriction

Mandate an extra, medically unnecessary appointment for care

Minnesota Restriction

Mandate an extra, medically unnecessary appointment for care

People who have decided to have an abortion must schedule an extra, medically unnecessary appointment to hear a state-mandated script, and then wait 24 hours before obtaining care. This tactic is mandated for political reasons, not medical reasons, and is an attempt to create enough delays to push patients later into pregnancy and push abortion out of reach.

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Restriction

Mandate doctors provide detailed patient information to State Commissioner of Health

Minnesota Restriction

Mandate doctors provide detailed patient information to State Commissioner of Health

Even though the patient’s name is not reported, that state mandates that clinics and providers report a patient’s age, the number of miscarriages they have had, the “specific reason” they’re having an abortion, and how they paid for the abortion. In the state’s public report, the Minnesota Department of Health also reports on the patient’s race, marital status, and county of residence, among other things. These data are reported separate from, and in addition to, other standard medical reporting protocols.

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Restriction

Mandate minors notify both parents, even if the minor has an abusive relationship and hasn’t involved the authorities, or no relationship, with one or both of their parents

Minnesota Restriction

Mandate minors notify both parents, even if the minor has an abusive relationship and hasn’t involved the authorities, or no relationship, with one or both of their parents

The only alternative for minors who cannot notify both parents is to go through the court system. Even if a minor can notify both their parents, they may be required to jump through bureaucratic hoops to prove the parental relationship, like gathering birth certificates. Because it’s a crime to violate this law, providers often go to great lengths to comply, and if patients don’t have the right paperwork they may have to go through the court system. Minors are not mandated by law to notify parents for any other medical decisions related to pregnancy, including giving birth.

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In the News

Legal challenge filed to remove abortion laws.

Today, Minnesota legal and policy advocacy organization Gender Justice filed a legal challenge to repeal a number of abortion restrictions currently on the books in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has long recognized abortion access as a fundamental right. Yet Minnesota still has laws on the books that restrict access to abortion and other reproductive health services, are out-of-step with contemporary medical practice, and reflect antiquated views about women’s role in society. These laws disproportionately harm low-income people, people of color and indigenous/Native American people, immigrants, people who lack health insurance, and others who are marginalized. They also fail to honor the diverse religious traditions of Minnesotans.

This lawsuit aims to eliminate these outdated and controlling laws to ensure Minnesota has a system of just laws that upholds the rights and dignity of all Minnesotans. We aim to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality reproductive and sexual healthcare. It asks the court to strike down or prohibit the state from enforcing these restrictions.

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Did You Know?

Only 5% of Minnesota counties have clinics that provide abortion care. The majority of Minnesotans (59%) live outside of these counties.

Check out these state facts about abortion in Minnesota.

Minnesota State Graphic

Did You Know?

If you decide to end a pregnancy, Minnesota law mandates an extra, medically unnecessary appointment before you can access abortion care.

Hourglass graphic

Did You Know?

If you live in greater Minnesota and decide to end a pregnancy, you could have to drive 4 hours to get to a Minnesota clinic that offers abortion care.

Number of abortion clinics in Minnesota graphic

Did You Know?

If you’re under 18 and have made the decision to have an abortion, Minnesota state law mandates that you notify both parents.

If you cannot, you must plead your case before a judge. If the court deems you too “immature” to have an abortion, the state can force you to have a child.

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Did You Know?

In Minnesota, it is a felony for a non-physician to perform an abortion.

In other states, like Colorado and Montana, a wider range of trained medical professionals (like nurses or midwives) can offer this care. Studies show it’s just as safe. And increasing the number of people who can provide care means more access for everyone who needs it.

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Did You Know?

If you decide to have an abortion in Minnesota, state law mandates that doctors give patients medically irrelevant and biased information.

This includes falsely suggesting a link between abortion and breast cancer even though there is zero medical evidence to support it.

Mandated script graphic

Did You Know?

There are 98 "crisis pregnancy centers” located in Minnesota.

These fake health care clinics are designed to mislead and discourage women from deciding to have an abortion.

Minnesota graphic

Did You Know?

Currently, there are only 4 abortion clinics in Minnesota.

(One in Duluth and three in the Twin Cities)

Number of abortion clinics in Minnesota graphic
FAQ

Your questions answered.

Why haven’t I heard about these restrictions?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. 96% of Minnesotans don’t know the abortion laws of the state. For years, lawmakers in our state have been quietly passing laws that restrict abortion access, intimidate providers, mislead patients, and increase costs – and many have passed unnoticed. It also doesn’t help that abortion is one of the stigmatized procedures in health care. The political rhetoric and misinformation about it have led many to just not talk about it. But we need to.

In Minnesota, our oldest abortion restriction law still in effect was enacted in 1905, and legislators have been proposing and passing restrictions ever since. Since 1995, lawmakers in Minnesota have proposed nearly 400 new anti-abortion laws. One of them passed as a surprise, last minute amendment to a bill about circuses in 2003. No, that’s not a joke.

Abortion also doesn’t get a lot of news coverage, and when it does show up in the news, it’s largely covered as a political issue rather than the personal health care issue that it is. A recent study showed that the personal experiences of people who have had abortions represent only 4% of news coverage about abortion. What’s more, inflammatory terms which were created to further a political agenda and are not used or recognized by the medical community, continue to dominate coverage and distort public discussion. For years, abortion has been singled out and regulated differently because of some people’s political beliefs. It’s time for that to change.

Does Minnesota’s Constitution protect abortion rights?

“We can think of few decisions more intimate, personal, and profound than a [Minnesotan’s] decision between childbirth and abortion. Indeed, this decision is of such great import that it governs whether the [parent] will create lifelong attachments and responsibilities. We therefore conclude that the right of privacy under the Minnesota Constitution encompasses a woman’s right to decide to terminate her pregnancy.”

In 1995, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that our state constitution protects not only our right to have an abortion, but also protects our right to decide to have an abortion. This means that abortion is legal in Minnesota, and that the government should not try to sway in favor of one pregnancy outcome over another. The court rightly recognized that these decisions belong to Minnesotans, NOT the government. However, politicians in Minnesota have quietly passed several laws that impinge on our rights, including laws that mandate doctors give medically irrelevant and biased information to Minnesotans before they can have an abortion. Several of the anti-abortion laws on the books restrict our freedoms, reduce access to health care, and are meant to punish, shame, and pressure people who attempt to get an abortion.

These laws do not exist for any other type of health care.

Why do we have these laws in the first place?

Because of politics, not medicine. Anti-abortion politicians and activists have succeeded in politicizing abortion care and have spent decades passing laws to restrict access, increase costs, intimidate providers, and mislead patients. For some, this effectively means abortion care is inaccessible.

What happens if Minnesota’s abortion restrictions go away?

Minnesotans who decide to continue a pregnancy or make the decision to end a pregnancy will be able to get the health care they need without the government trying to sway their decision one way or another, and without shame. This also means the cost of abortion could decrease, and more providers trained to provide abortion care can offer their services in their communities–expanding access to more Minnesotans. Like all other forms of health care in Minnesota, abortion care and providers will continue to be regulated for safety, privacy, and medical standards. They just won’t be subjected to targeted regulations designed specifically to stigmatize abortion and push it out of reach.

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Community Partners

A community of advocates, health care providers, lawyers, and citizens have come together as a strong reproductive health, rights, and justice coalition to support Minnesotan’s right to make their own decisions about whether or when to be a parent, and educate our community about the laws restricting abortion access and care.