In 1995, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard a case brought by “Jane Doe,” who was a stand-in for “all women in Minnesota”. The case challenged a law that excluded abortion coverage from the state’s health care plans for low-income, working, Minnesotans. The Minnesota Supreme Court found that the government may not sway its citizens in favor of one pregnancy outcome (carrying a pregnancy to term) over another (abortion), and that it is unconstitutional to prohibit public health insurance from covering abortion. Additionally, the Minnesota Supreme Court stated, “we have interpreted the Minnesota Constitution to afford broader protection than the United States Constitution of a woman’s fundamental right to reach a private decision on whether to obtain an abortion”.
Minnesota’s Doe v. Gomez decision still protects abortion as a constitutional right in the state. Minnesotans still have a constitutional right to both have an abortion, and decide to have an abortion. However, this constitutional right has not stopped politicians in Minnesota from passing laws that limit our access to abortion care. That’s why two medical providers, a faith congregation, and an abortion fund filed a lawsuit challenging a number of these restrictions currently on the books in Minnesota, hoping to make the constitutional right articulated in Doe v. Gomez a reality for all Minnesotans.