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Minnesota Senate Passes Reproductive Freedom Defense Act

Bill protecting against out-of-state anti-abortion attacks sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signature; UnRestrict Minnesota celebrates passage and urges lawmakers to keep up momentum and pass additional bills protecting reproductive freedom

April 21, 2023

Erin Hart, Communications Director

Saint Paul, Minn.—By a vote of 34 to 29, the Minnesota Senate has passed the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act, enacting robust protections for people seeking, providing, and helping others get abortion care in Minnesota against legal attacks by out-of-state anti-abortion activists. Having passed the Minnesota House of Representatives on March 20, the bill now moves on to Gov. Tim Walz to be signed into law.

Representatives of UnRestrict Minnesota celebrated the Senate’s passage of the bill, and called on legislators to capitalize on the momentum they have built and pass additional measures before them repealing the anti-abortion restrictions that remain on the books in Minnesota.

“The champions of reproductive freedom in our legislature have made it clear that Minnesotans will not stand for the attacks on abortion rights and access that have spiraled out of control across the nation,” said Megan Peterson, executive director of Gender Justice, the organizational home of UnRestrict Minnesota.

“We are creating in Minnesota a safe haven for people seeking reproductive health care of all kinds, and the passage of this bill represents a crucial step toward fulfilling the promise of reproductive freedom for everyone who seeks care here.

“Now we must strengthen these protections still further by removing from Minnesota law the anti-abortion restrictions that will remain a threat to reproductive freedom as long as they remain on the books.”

The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade threw reproductive health care access into crisis and unleashed a flood of cruel and harmful laws attacking not only abortion rights, but also individual liberties and privacy more broadly.

Many of these laws seek not only to ban abortion in their own states, but also to reach across state lines, preventing people from traveling elsewhere to get the care they can’t get at home — and punishing those who provide abortion care and help people get it.

The Reproductive Freedom Defense Act will 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.

Recent polling by PerryUndem showed that three-quarters of Minnesota voters support protecting health care providers and people traveling to Minnesota for abortion care from legal attacks by out-of-state anti-abortion activists and politicians.

Sixty-eight percent of Minnesota voters also support repealing laws that restrict people’s access to abortion — and the legislature is considering measures that would eliminate from Minnesota law a lengthy list of abortion restrictions that have curtailed abortion access for decades, including many that were ruled unconstitutional by a Minnesota judge last year.

“Even as the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act takes effect, our state’s unjust and unconstitutional anti-abortion restrictions still threaten the equitable access to abortion care that the vast majority of Minnesotans want for themselves and their neighbors,” said Peterson.

“The time has come for our lawmakers to bring our laws into line with our values at last by repealing these restrictions once and for all.”