Minnesota Enshrines ‘Most Extreme’ Abortion Policy Into State Law as ‘Fundamental Right’

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
January 31, 2023Updated: February 1, 2023

Gov. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) signed the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act on Tuesday, which enshrines what Republicans call “the most extreme” abortion policy into state law as a “fundamental right.”

Minnesota Republicans and pro-life groups have said the law means that the elective killing of an unborn child is legal, even in the third trimester, and that parents have no right to know about their daughter’s abortion.

The Democrat-controlled Minnesota state Senate passed the bill on Feb. 28 in a close vote of 34–33, divided along party lines. The bill’s passage was quick, taking place in the opening weeks of the legislative session.

The PRO Act also prohibits local governments from enacting restrictions on abortion that are narrower than those established by the state.

Before signing the bill, Walz noted the legislation codifies existing protections for the right to an abortion in the state constitution in case a future state Supreme Court overturns the decision.

“To Minnesotans, know that your access to reproductive health and your right to make your own health care decisions are preserved and protected,” Walz said. “And because of this law, that won’t change with the political winds or the make-up of the Supreme Court.”

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), the Minnesota branch of the Democratic Party, gained control of the legislature and governor’s office in the 2022 midterms in a “legislative trifecta” for the first time since 2013–2014. They have a 70–64 majority in the state House.

Epoch Times Photo
People participate in the March for Life rally in Washington, on Jan. 20, 2023. (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)

Amendments Rejected

The passage of the bill faced opposition, with state Democrats defeating several amendments put forward by Republicans.

According to pro-life organizations, the amendments aimed to protect unborn children in the third trimester, ban partial-birth abortion, provide the option of anesthesia during “painful dismemberment abortions,” and ban sex-selection and other discriminatory abortions when an unborn child is thought to have Down syndrome.

Other rejected amendments sought to ensure that third-trimester abortions take place in a hospital and that abortion facilities be licensed by the state.

The Minnesota GOP said Democrats are pushing “the most extreme pro-abortion legislation” in the country while rejecting “reasonable” limitations aimed at protecting women and children.

“As Democrats keep pushing this dangerous and extreme agenda through, they continue to vote down reasonable protections for women and children—including guardrails like limits on late-term abortions or providing parental notification or consent,” said Minnesota GOP Executive Director Mike Lonergan in a statement.

Lonegrain said the Democrats’ abortion agenda is “extreme and out of step with Minnesota.”

The Midwestern state has become a popular destination for women seeking abortions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

Since the ruling, there has been a 13 percent increase in patients traveling to Minnesota from out of state seeking abortions, and a 40 percent increase in patients seeking second-trimester abortions.

Anti-abortion activists
Pro-life activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after the Court announced a ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case in Washington on June 24, 2022. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

‘Elective Killing … Perfectly Legal’

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) criticized the law as “extreme, inhumane, and harmful” for allowing nearly unrestricted abortion “for any reason” on demand up to birth and without parental consent for minors.

“It means that the elective killing of a human being in utero is perfectly legal even in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the child can feel excruciating pain and could live outside the womb,” said the organization’s Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. “It means that parents have no right to know when their teenage daughter has been taken to undergo an abortion.”

She added that the governor’s “absolutist abortion policy” puts the state in the company of North Korea and China.

The pro-life state organization accused Democrats of downplaying the reality of elective late-term abortions, citing a poll that shows only 30 percent of Minnesotans think abortions should always be legal, 25 percent think it should have limitations, and 26 percent think it should be illegal except in rare cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. Only 12 percent thought abortion should always be illegal.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser accused Democrats of being “radically pro-abortion” and competing to be the most extreme.

“Seven in ten Americans want more protections for the unborn and less abortion, not more,” Dannenfelser said in a statement, referring to a Marist Poll commission by the Knights of Columbus (pdf), which states that 69 percent of Americans support limiting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy.

“Yet one after another, Minnesota Democrats blocked commonsense safeguards to protect unborn babies from excruciating pain; stop lethal discrimination against unborn children because of their sex, race, or disability like Down syndrome; end the abortion industry’s exploitation of young girls; and many more,” she continued.

She added the Democrats “even voted down a ban on barbaric partial-birth abortions.”

The passage of the bill makes Minnesota the first state to enact new statutory rights following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

The Republican National Committee has urged all candidates, consultants, and political action groups to actively expose the Democrats’ abortion policies ahead of the 2024 elections and to adopt the GOP’s stance.

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