Every woman should have the right to make her own reproductive health care choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion. Each year at the capitol, NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota fights back against repeated attacks on the right to abortion and birth control access. We work with our legislative champions to introduce pro-choice policies that will improve access to reproductive health care. In meetings with our legislators, during committee hearings, and outside the legislative chambers, we remind our elected representatives that there is no equality without reproductive freedom.
We are proud that Minnesota remains a state where women have access to contraception and abortion. However, we can still do much to strengthen our laws in support of reproductive rights. That’s why NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota worked with our coalition partners on the Minnesotans for Trust, Respect, Access campaign to introduce a slate of proactive reproductive policies for the 2017-18 legislative session.
Minnesota Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or the Minnesota FACE Act
With an anti-choice legislature, NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota defends against a full range of anti-choice legislation from outright bans on abortion to attempts to close abortion clinics. NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota is fully committed to defending the right to abortion in Minnesota.
Extreme and Dangerous Attempts to Ban Abortion Through So-Called “Personhood” Measures:
These bills ban abortion outright, making doctors into criminals, and forcing women to seek illegal abortion care. Where abortion is illegal, the risk of complications and maternal mortality is high. In fact, the abortion-related death rate is hundreds of times higher in developing regions, where the procedure is often illegal, than in developed countries (Guttmacher Institute, Facts on Induced Abortion Worldwide (Jan. 2012) at http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_IAW.html#r15a).
Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers:
In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellersetdt that a Texas law that would have required abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center requirements created an undue burden for women seeking abortion. The court held that not only did the law fail to confer real health benefits, but it also restricted access to abortion care.
Similar laws have been passed by the Minnesota legislature in 2011 and 2017, both of which were vetoed by Governor Dayton.
Now, abortion opponents are seeking to create burdensome reporting requirements that single out abortion clinics for additional scrutiny. This legislation is a thinly veiled attempt to close clinics and restrict access to abortion.
Abortion Coverage Bans
The Minnesota Supreme Court established a fundamental right to abortion in its 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision, requiring the state to cover abortion care to the same extent it covers other pregnancy-related care under Medical Assistance (MA).
Since then, dozens of bills have been introduced that would unconstitutionally ban abortion coverage in MA. Eliminating MA coverage for abortion would create a two-tiered system in which lower income women do not have the same freedom to make their own health care decisions as those who can afford abortion.
Coverage bans don’t end abortion, but they do push the procedure later into pregnancy.
- In states that deny Medicaid coverage of abortion, studies have shown that women postpone the procedure by 2-3 weeks to scrape together the funds to pay for it.
- An abortion would cost a woman on Medicaid nearly a third of her monthly family income.
NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota is proud to work with All Above All, a national partnership to lift abortion coverage bans.
Other Anti-Choice Initiatives:
- Attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and cut family planning grants to providers
- Bills that would ban abortion via telemedicine
- Funding fake health centers that use deceptive practices to stop women from accessing abortion care
For more information on the NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota legislative agenda, contact Executive Director, Andrea Ledger.