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What did the laws say about minors accessing abortion care?

Until recently, Minnesota law mandated that minors must notify both of their parents at least 48 hours before the abortion, even if the minor has an abusive relationship, or no relationship at all, with one or both of their parents. The only alternative was for the young person to go through the court system. The minor may also have had to prove the parental relationship by gathering documents like birth certificates, divorce decrees, or marriage certificates. If one parent no longer has the same last name as the birth certificate, due to marriage or divorce, or a minor has no way to contact one of their parents, the minor had to go through the court system to get permission from a judge to have an abortion.

A majority of young people considering abortion turn to a trusted adult. We all want young people to live in safe and healthy environments where they’re supported as they make their decisions, especially this one. But the Minnesota law meant to “protect” minors had actually increased the teen birth rate and causes more harm, especially for those who do not have safe or healthy relationships with their parents, guardians, or family. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes these laws because parental involvement laws are more likely to cause physical and emotional harm to minors than help their wellbeing, as well as delay minors from accessing abortion care until later in their pregnancy. Minors are not mandated by law to notify parents for other medical decisions related to pregnancy, including giving birth.

Note: This law was struck down by a district court judge in July 2022.