News: Minnesota Attorney General and Local Planned Parenthood President Talk Abortion Rights

People born today in this country will likely have fewer rights and opportunities to pursue their own lives than people in my generation have had.

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Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke to members of the press on Wednesday alongside Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, about the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that overturns Roe v. Wade. Find details about post-Roe health care in Minnesota.

Ellison reiterated his support for reproductive rights and chastised the Supreme Court for “hyper politicization.” “Some of these people ought to take off their black robes and put on congressional pins because they don’t want to decide law, they want to make it,” Ellison said. “This is very concerning.”

The AG also commented on other landmark SCOTUS cases couched in a right to privacy that could be called into question, including the right to use birth control (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1963), interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia, 1967), same sex sex (Lawrence v. Kansas, 2003), and same sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015).

“Are we suddenly going to have the contraceptive police running around Texas finding out who has birth control pills? Are we going to be seeing arrests and convictions of women who choose to end a pregnancy? What if they get an abortion in Minnesota and go back to Texas? Will that constitute a crime in Texas?” Ellison added.

Missouri is one state that is currently pursuing legislation that would criminalize patients for crossing state lines to obtain abortion care, and more states could follow.

Stoesz said that under the leaked draft decision, it is possible ectopic pregnancies (a life-threatening condition in which a pregnancy occurs outside the main cavity of the uterus) could be prevented from being treated with abortion.

“We have heard lawmakers pass draconian attempts to make abortion illegal specifically refer to ectopic pregnancies, and wanting to protect the life of the fetus in an ectopic pregnancy, even though we know it would endanger the life of the woman carrying that ectopic pregnancy,” Stoesz said.

Whether Roe is completely overturned or weakened, Stoesz said Minnesota would become a haven state for people seeking reproductive care in the Midwest, with Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota likely enforcing restrictions or bans.

“Minnesota remains a very important haven. This leaked draft is so extreme that we know that even birth control is threatened under the terms of this leaked draft,” Stoesz said, noting that Planned Parenthood is currently studying to predict the type of infrastructure, including telemedicine and abortion medication delivery service, that will enable them to “welcome as many people as we can from other states.”

“People born today in this country will likely have fewer rights and opportunities to pursue their own lives than people in my generation have had,” Stoesz said. “Nothing is more important today than mobilizing for the 2022 election and beyond.”

Ellison also mentioned the November election as critical for reproductive rights in Minnesota and added that lawmakers should move to pass an amendment to the state constitution that would allow voters to decide to enshrine the freedom to have an abortion in the Minnesota constitution as written. (Currently, the 1995 decision Doe v. Gomez sets forth a derivative right to choose to have an abortion under the state constitution, but the precedent could be challenged under conservative leadership.)

“Now we’re going to be having to debate abortion bills in our state legislature all the time,” Ellison said. “What about [infrastructure], health care, education, everything — [are those issues] going to be consumed now that the Supreme Court has thrown [overturning Roe] into the mix?”

Related Read: If Roe Falls — What Could Change for Minnesotans?