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Minnesota Governor signs bill codifying ‘fundamental right’ to abortion into law


Minnesota Democratic Governor Tim Walz signed a bill on Tuesday that enshrines the “fundamental right” to access abortion in the state.

Abortion is already legal in Minnesota, but following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Protect Reproductive Options Act goes even further by emphasizing that each person has the fundamental right to make “autonomous decisions” regarding their own reproductive health. reproductive health as well as the right to refuse reproductive health care.

“It’s very simple, very straight to the point,” Walz said Tuesday on “CNN Tonight.” “We trust the women of Minnesota, and that’s not what came out of the [Supreme Court’s] decision, so I think it’s extremely important that we build a firewall.

With the passage of the bill, Minnesota is now the first state to legislate abortion since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the office of the bill’s lead author in the Minnesota State Senate told CNN.

“Last November, Minnesotans spoke loud and clear: They want their reproductive rights protected — not taken away,” Walz said in a press release. “Today, we are delivering on our promise to put in place a firewall against efforts to reverse reproductive freedom. No matter who sits on the Minnesota Supreme Court, this legislation will ensure Minnesotans have access to health care. reproductive health for generations to come.Here in Minnesota, your access to reproductive health care and your freedom to make your own health care decisions are preserved and protected.

The bill states that local government cannot restrict a person’s ability to exercise the “fundamental right” to reproductive freedom. It also specifies that this right extends to access to contraception, sterilization, family planning, fertility services and advice on reproductive health care.

“The Pro Act also goes beyond granting these abortion rights, it really says that all reproductive health decisions are not our business, including access to contraception, including access to really anything that has to do with personal and private decisions about your reproductive life,” Megan Peterson, executive director of the UnRestrict Minnesota abortion rights campaign, told CNN after the bill was signed into law. by Walz.

In a letter to Walz ahead of the signing, Republican legislature leaders argued the bill went too far and urged the governor to veto what they called “extreme legislation.”

“As the PRO Act was rushed through the Legislature, Republicans offered reasonable amendments with safeguards to protect women and children,” Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson wrote and House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth said, “Unfortunately, every single one of these amendments was overruled by a Democratic majority.

In 1995, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Doe v. Gomez that abortion was a fundamental right protected by the state constitution. The Reproductive Options Protection Act ensures that even in the event of a new state Supreme Court overturning the decision, the right to an abortion will be protected under state law.

“By passing this law, Minnesotans will have a second layer of protection for their existing reproductive rights. A future Minnesota Supreme Court could overturn Doe v. Gomez, but with PRO law now in state law, Minnesotans will still be entitled to reproductive health care,” Luke Bishop, spokesperson for Democratic state Senator Jennifer McEwen, author of the draft law in the Senate, CNN told CNN via email.

Following the governor’s signing of the bill, the White House applauded Minnesota’s efforts, underscoring popular support for women’s rights to make their own health care decisions.

“Americans overwhelmingly support a woman’s right to make her own health decisions, as was so clearly demonstrated last fall when voters showed up to defend abortion access – including for ballot initiatives in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“As Congressional Republicans continue to support extreme policies, including a nationwide abortion ban, the President and Vice President call on Congress to restore Roe’s protections to federal law,” he said. she writes. “In the meantime, the Biden-Harris administration will continue its work to protect access to abortion and support heads of state in advocating for women’s reproductive rights.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

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