For Immediate Release: 1/8/2020 

 

NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota
300 Myrtle Ave #120, St Paul, MN 55114
Contact: Maggie Meyer, maggiemeyer@prochoiceminnesota.org
Main number: 651-602-7655 

Minnesota State Senators Stand Up to US Representative Collin Peterson
Ten women Senators have called on Peterson to reconsider his signature on Amicus Brief aimed at overturning of Roe vs. Wade 

 Saint Paul, MN January 8, 2020.  NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota wants to specially thank the ten brave women Senators who have sent a letter to US Representative Collin Peterson asking him to consider the ramifications of listing himself as a supporter of the Amicus Curiae Brief calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade. 

On Thursday, January 2, 2020, Peterson was one of only two Democrats in Congress to join more than 200 anti-choice, Republican Representatives in signing a letter that was written with the explicit purpose to strip women and people who can become pregnant of their constitutional right to a safe, legal abortion. 

We encourage you to align yourself with the 71 percent of American voters, and 74 percent of Minnesotans, who believe that the decision, which established a woman’s legal right to an abortion, should not be overturned. We will welcome the opportunity to work with you to protect the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld, that abortion is a fundamental right. The world is looking to our Country to establish a vision of justice for the 21st century. This is not a time for political leaders to divide this Nation by turning the clock back on women’s human rights.” 

NARAL was founded in 1966, before abortion was even legal in the United States. For more than fifty years, we have been fighting for our reproductive rights and we could not do this work without powerful allies in elected office. Thank you to Senators Patricia Torres Ray (DFL, SD 63); Susan Kent (DFL, SD 53); Karla Bigham (DFL, SD 54); Carolyn Laine (DFL, SD 41); Kari Dziedzic (DFL, SD 60); Sandra Pappas (DFL, SD 65); Chris Eaton (DFL, SD 40); Ann Rest (DFL, SD 45)Melisa Franzen (DFL, SD 49); and Melissa Wiklund (DFL, SD 50). 

 

The full text of the letter follows:  

January 8, 2020
The Honorable U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson
U.S. Congress 7th District of Minnesota
2204 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515   

Dear Congressman Peterson,  

We are writing to express our concern about your participation in the conservative coalition of Congressional leaders who are co-sponsoring the Amicus Curiae Brief, requesting the US Supreme Court to re-interpret, and if appropriate, to completely overrule Roe v Wade. The Brief released on January 2nd, included the signatures of 205 Republican members and only two Democrats, you and Dan Lipinski of Illinois.  

It is our opinion that your effort to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is a direct assault on the independence and freedom of women and all people who might need abortion services, returning them to the days when they could not fully decide about their reproductive health, their future and the future of their families. The right to a safe, legal abortion is an issue of justice. The ability to decide when to start a family, when to grow your family, and how you care for your family, impacts every aspect of a woman’s life – including their ability to realize their full potential socially, economically and politically.  

We understand the arguments behind the June Medical Services v. Gee case set to be heard in March, to determine whether the State of Louisiana can require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. This reasoning singles out abortion care and creates barriers to patients and providers. We have reviewed similar positions presented in our State, and we have concluded that asking for these privileges is unnecessary because complications from abortion care are very rare, and if they are serious, a patient should be transported to a local hospital, to administer treatment regardless of any admitting privileges. Additionally, this law is nearly identical to that presented in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt which was struck down by the US Supreme Court in just 2016. The only thing that has changed since that decision is the composition of the Court and we understand that this case is a tactic to dismantle the constitutional right to an abortion, not a case to protect the health of patients.  

Transfer to a hospital in the case of an emergency should happen with any medical case, not just abortion cases. Furthermore, we have reviewed ample medical evidence that shows the few cases involving complications are usually overstated in comparison to the total group of women seeking abortions in the State of Minnesota, and around the country. We also know that medical complications are usually associated with other determinants of health, since the women involved in most scientific studies are mostly low income. Wealthier women, with private insurance, are typically healthier and less inclined to have abortion-related complications. Abortion studies involving women who have access to private insurance have not been published. We only have information about women enrolled in public assistance programs, which brings another concern for women who will be impacted by these decisions, but who are frequently ignored by our political systems because of their economic status.  

We agree with many health providers, advocates and legal experts who describe these regulations as “TRAP” (targeted regulations on abortion providers) law, or a law that looks at first glance like a regulation to increase safety for women, but it is really designed to make it harder for clinics to provide birth control and abortion services to predominately low income women, who lack access to health insurance.  

We strongly encourage you to consider the ramifications of having your name on the list of supporters of Amicus Curiae Brief, and to carefully review your position on what we consider to be one of the most consequential reproductive rights decisions in the last two decades. We encourage you to align yourself with the 71 percent of American voters, and 74 percent of Minnesotans, who believe that the decision, which established a woman’s legal right to an abortion, should not be overturned. We will welcome the opportunity to work with you to protect the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld, that abortion is a fundamental right. The world is looking to our Country to establish a vision of justice for the 21st century. This is not a time for political leaders to divide this Nation by turning the clock back on women’s human rights.  

Thank you for your consideration.  

Sincerely,  

Senator Patricia Torres Ray
District 63   

Senator Karla Bigham
District 54  

Senator Kari Dziedzic
District 60  

Senator Chris Eaton
District 40  

Senator Melisa Franzen
District 49 

Senator Susan Kent
District 53  

Senator Carolyn Laine
District 41  

Senator Sandra Pappas
District 65  

Senator Ann Rest
District 45  

Senator Melissa Wiklund
District 50

ABOUT NARAL: NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota is a state affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America. For more information, please visit www.prochoiceminnesota.org 

 

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