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Does the Minnesota 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 [person] 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 our right to decide to have an abortion and to get abortion care. 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, anti-abortion politicians in Minnesota spent decades quietly passing laws that infringed on our rights, including laws that mandate doctors give medically irrelevant and biased information to Minnesotans before they could have an abortion. Several of the anti-abortion laws restricted our freedoms, reduced access to health care, and were meant to punish, shame, and pressure people who choose/decide to get an abortion.

Since then, a 2022 Minnesota court decision in a case brought by UnRestrict Minnesota coalition partners found many of these restrictions unconstitutional and blocked their enforcement permanently. And in a historic legislative session in 2023, champions of reproductive rights in the state legislature enshrined the right of everyone in Minnesota to make and act on their own decisions regarding the full spectrum of reproductive health care — including abortion — and repealed the vast majority of the anti-abortion restrictions that remained on the books.

Read on in this FAQ to learn more about what happened in 2023 and what’s left to do.