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Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Reproductive Freedom Defense Act

Bill protecting against out-of-state anti-abortion attacks takes another step toward enactment; UnRestrict Minnesota calls for full Senate passage

March 24, 2023

Erin Hart, Communications Director

Saint Paul, Minn.—Today, the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee passed the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act, moving the proposed shield law one step closer to full Senate passage.

During the hearing, chief author Senator Kelly Morrison and Gender Justice Senior Staff Attorney Christy Hall testified about the mounting threats against people seeking and offering abortion care from out-of-state activists and politicians — and the chilling effect they are having even in states like Minnesota where abortion rights and access are protected by law.

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the bill last Monday; now it can move to the Senate for a vote. UnRestrict Minnesota is urging the full Senate to send the bill on to Gov. Tim Walz to be signed into law.

“We cannot ignore the rising tide of serious threats that anti-abortion extremists from out of state have leveled against our citizens, our health care providers, and everyone who comes to Minnesota seeking care and refuge from harsh anti-abortion laws in their home states,” said Abena Abraham, campaign director for UnRestrict Minnesota.

“Attacks on people seeking, offering, and helping other people get abortion care are increasing by the day, and it is imperative that our lawmakers act now to establish the strongest possible protections against them.”

The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade resulted in states across the country banning or preparing to ban abortion. Now anti-abortion lawmakers are going even further, introducing legislation that would subject those seeking, providing, or assisting people in getting abortion care to criminal prosecution and lawsuits — even in states, like Minnesota, where abortion is a guaranteed right.

The Reproductive Freedom Defense Act would ensure that patients traveling to Minnesota for abortion care and the providers who serve them are protected from legal attacks and criminal penalties from anti-abortion extremists from other states. It will also prevent Minnesota’s law enforcement agencies and courts from being hijacked in service of laws that go against the values of the majority of Minnesotans who support equitable access to safe and legal abortion, and the guaranteed rights of all Minnesotans.

“Minnesotans’ values favoring reproductive freedom are strong and clear, and they do not leave room for out-of-state activists and politicians trying to undermine them,” said Abraham. “We must make our laws equally strong and clear by passing the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act swiftly in the Senate.”