Ramsey County Judge Thomas Gilligan’s ruling in Doe v. Minnesota struck down an informed consent law, parental notification law, and the requirement that only doctors perform abortions.
“These abortion laws violate the right to privacy because they infringe upon the fundamental right under the Minnesota Constitution to access abortion care and do not withstand strict scrutiny,” Gilligan wrote in his ruling, CBS News reported.
Gilligan also ruled that the law requiring only doctors to perform abortions in hospitals was unconstitutional. He let stand a requirement to report to the state health department but nullified the criminal penalties for any violations of that law.
The Minnesota judge’s ruling comes at a time when states are tightening abortion restrictions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal nationwide.
Even the U.S. Supreme Court, under Roe v. Wade and subsequent decisions, allowed these very modest types of laws. Yet today’s ruling blocks them and prevents Minnesotans from enacting reasonable protections for unborn children and their mothers. The decision must be appealed.
— MCCL (@MCCL_org) July 11, 2022
Scott Fischbach, the executive director of pro-life advocacy group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), said the decision must be appealed.
“Today’s ruling striking [the laws] down is extreme and without a foundation in the Minnesota Constitution. Even the U.S. Supreme Court, under Roe v. Wade and subsequent decisions, allowed these very modest types of laws,” Fischbach said in a news release.
“Yet today’s ruling blocks them and prevents Minnesotans from enacting reasonable protections for unborn children and their mothers.”
Similar Laws Upheld By Supreme Court
Two of the abortion-related laws have withstood U.S. Supreme Court challenges in Minnesota and another state.
Minnesota’s parental notification law requires that parents are notified before an abortion is performed on a minor. This law was previously challenged and then upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1990 Hodgson v. Minnesota decision.
The informed consent law, known as the Minnesota’s Woman’s Right to Know Act, was passed in 2003.
That law requires the Minnesota Department of Health to make certain information available in print and on the state website and also requires a 24-hour waiting period for anyone seeking an abortion.
Gilligan wrote in his ruling that to require abortion seekers “to be really, really certain of their decision, insults their intelligence and decision-making capabilities,” Fox 9 reported.
A similar informed consent law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision.
“A lot of women have been helped by these policies,” said Fischbach. “Now they will be harmed as these protections are taken away by an egregiously mistaken court ruling, one that goes well beyond Roe v. Wade. This mistake must be corrected.”
Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt expressed his view that the ruling needs to be appealed.
“Attorney General [Keith] Ellison must appeal this ridiculous ruling and defend Minnesota’s longstanding bipartisan pro-life laws,” Daudt wrote on Twitter.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Monday that he would review the 140-page ruling before deciding on an appeal, CBS News reported.
“I believe in a woman’s right to choose. But I also have a duty to defend Minnesota’s statutes. Both of those are my jobs at the same time. We’re going to take good, strong look at the decision,” he said.