Minnesota Will Protect Out-of-State Abortion Seekers if Roe v. Wade Overturned, Ellison Says

Minnesota’s attorney general declares that women who travel to the state in search of an abortion would be shielded from litigation and punishment as the U.S. Supreme Court seems certain to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Attorney General Keith Ellison told reporters in St. Paul on Tuesday that he would step in if other states took action against Minnesotans seeking abortions. A travel ban on abortions is not already a state law, but politicians in states with severe abortion regulations have discussed the idea. Private persons are already permitted to sue both those who perform abortions and those who administer them under a Texas abortion statute that outlaws the practice beyond the sixth week of pregnancy.

Nobody who travels from another state to have an abortion that is permitted in Minnesota will face legal repercussions, he declared. “I will fight extradition requests from other states for individuals who have committed legitimate acts in Minnesota,” the speaker said.

With a Supreme Court decision on abortion possibly coming this week, the attorney general, along with Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, and Michael Steenson, a professor at the Hamline-Mitchell College of Law, provided a brief on what a post-Roe Minnesota might entail.

The decision on whether abortion is lawful would be left up to the states, whose laws on the subject differ greatly, according to Steenson, if the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade. Minnesota has the potential to become a regional hub for abortions since it is bordered by states with stricter abortion regulations. When abortion is outlawed in neighboring states, according to Stoesz, Planned Parenthood in Minnesota anticipates a 10%–25% increase in patients.

According to Stoesz, “We are moving as quickly as we can to be able to provide appointments for everyone who needs them. “Staffing is obviously a huge concern for everyone in the healthcare industry and for all companies in general.”

Since the 6-3 conservative majority Supreme Court took up a case on the validity of Mississippi’s prohibition on abortions over 15 weeks of pregnancy, the future of abortion rights in the United States has been in doubt. In May, a draft decision written by Justice Samuel Alito that had been leaked suggested the court was prepared to rule in favor of the state, breaking 50 years of legal tradition that had protected abortion rights on a federal level.

Planned Parenthood announced that it has already stopped conducting abortions in South Dakota, where a so-called trigger law will outlaw the practice the moment federal protections terminate, in anticipation of the high court’s ruling. Providers in North Dakota would have one month to stop procedures before the state’s abortion ban takes effect. Should Roe be reversed, Wisconsin would likewise enact a ban on abortion.

Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court reversed a ruling that had protected abortion rights, paving the way for restrictive legislation to become law should the Republican governor and the Republican-controlled legislature of the state chose to implement limitations or a complete ban.

Abortion rights in Minnesota are still guaranteed under the 1995 state Supreme Court ruling Doe v. Gomez, even if federal abortion laws are repealed. Planned Parenthood had been increasing its capacity in Minnesota some years prior, according to Stoesz, taking notice of the local conditions and the possible danger to Roe.

If the federal protection is removed, she continued, “it is up to us to make sure that we are good neighbors to those around us and that we are able to welcome women into our state so that they may receive treatment as they need.”

In addition to his promise to defend Minnesotans seeking abortions, Ellison’s office has given updated advice for abortion clinics on the anticipated post-Roe legal environment.

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