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"How dare they?": Minnesota leaders react to abortion ruling

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Protests across the nation after SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade
Protests across the nation after SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade 02:07

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Supreme Court on Friday overturned its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade that established the right to an abortion, with a ruling that marks a seismic shift in abortion law and will usher in new rules limiting or banning access to the procedure in half of the states, in some places immediately.

The decision to undo nearly 50 years of precedent will have sweeping ramifications for tens of millions of women across the country as abortion rights are curtailed, particularly in GOP-led states in the South and Midwest, and lead to a patchwork of laws absent the constitutional protection. Thirteen states have so-called "trigger laws" on the books, in which abortion will swiftly be outlawed in most cases with Roe overturned.

The ruling came in a case involving a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and the court reversed the decision of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which blocked the measure.

Minnesota's elected leaders, religious organizations, and community representatives were swift with their responses.


Rep. Fischbach applauds Roe v. Wade decision, saying: "This is what democracy looks like"

Rep. Michelle Fischbach, who represents northwestern Minnesota, applauded the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in overturning Roe v. Wade, calling it a "step to protect the most precious and basic right: the right to life."

In a statement, the Republican co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said that the ruling means that states will be able to decide the issue of abortion through their elected officials. 

"This is what democracy looks like," she said. "Elected leaders, accountable to the people they represent, propose and pass the laws that the people support. The Constitution gives the people this job. The people are ready to protect life."

While the high court's decision will have an immediate impact on several states, Minnesota is not among them. The state's constitution currently protects the right of Minnesotans to terminate a pregnancy.

Additionally, Attorney General Keith Ellison said earlier this week that his office will fight to protect women who travel to Minnesota to get an abortion, along with providers and those who help abortion-seekers travel to Minnesota. 

By WCCO Staff

Reps. Omar, Phillips outraged over Roe v. Wade ruling: "This decision will fall hardest on the most vulnerable"

MINNEAPOLIS -- Reps. Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips called the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe V. Wade one that will be devastating to millions of women across America, especially to those who are the most vulnerable.

"I am outraged this right-wing court is turning the clock back on generations of progress and prohibiting individuals to have autonomy over their bodies," Omar said in a statement. "Let's be clear: This decision is a blow to everyone who believes in the 14th amendment and to anyone who believes there are limits to how much the government can control the decisions we make in our private lives."

She added: "Tragically, we know this decision will fall hardest on the most vulnerable, such as women who have been abused, who are victims of incest, who have been raped, and those who are already struggling to put food on the table."

The progressive congresswoman, who represents Minneapolis and several of its first-ring suburbs, added that she is grateful that Attorney General Keith Ellison, who once held her seat in Congress, will protect anyone who travels to Minnesota to get an abortion. 

The high court's decision on Roe v. Wade won't change abortion rights in Minnesota, which are protected in the 1995 decision in Doe v. Gomez, in which the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the state's constitution guarantees the right of every Minnesotan to terminate a pregnancy. 

While standing beside the president of the upper Midwest region of Planned Parenthood earlier this week, Ellison said that his office will protect women coming to Minnesota to get abortions, as well as people helping those women and providers traveling to the state to perform abortions. "I will directly intervene to stop any such prosecution," he said. 

Phillips, who represents Minneapolis' western suburbs, said that decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a blow to those who believe in a free society and a government that is restricted in how it can encroach on the personal lives of Americans. 

"I can only imagine how desperate and scared millions around the country are feeling," he said, in a statement. "Patients - not politicians - should have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies."

By WCCO Staff

Lawmakers say abortion rights' future in Minnesota up for grabs

Though Gov. Tim Walz and other lawmakers pointed out that abortion rights remain the same in Minnesota as they were before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, some are saying that their long-term future remains in doubt.

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman said that the ruling runs counter to her belief that "Minnesotans should have the freedom to make their own health care decisions," and said that "while abortion is still safe and legal in Minnesota, we know that Minnesota Republicans would enact the very same extreme and reckless laws that we've seen in Texas and Missouri."

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt's statement did not bring up the topic of future legislation in the state of Minnesota, but he praised the ruling as "an important step toward building a nation that values and recognizes life as a gift that should be protected."

Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller called the decision "a victory for every unborn child, affirming their life has value and is worth protecting. Senate Republicans are committed to working together to find consensus on protections for babies, and support for moms and families who choose life."

However, Senate Minority Leader Melisa López Franzen said, "Let's be clear: abortion is healthcare, and that remains true for Minnesotans even after this radical decision. Minnesotans deserve the right to make decisions about their own bodies guided by the medical advice of their doctors, not by the decisions of politicians. Last month, the Senate DFL fought to safeguard and strengthen access to reproductive health care, but the Republican majority blocked it despite Minnesotans' overwhelming support for reproductive rights. We will continue fighting for this fundamental right."

By WCCO Staff

Religious leaders in Minnesota split on Roe v. Wade being overturned

A number of religious organizations released statements after the high court eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion that has stood for a half-century.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, representing the Catholic Church in the state, praised the decision, saying that "for almost 50 years, Roe grievously denied one of America's founding principles: that all men and women—irrespective of their stage of development—are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

The church's statement went on to say, "Unfortunately, the landscape in Minnesota is shaped by our own version of Roe v. Wade. The 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court characterized the state right to an abortion as a "broader protection" than Roe, including the right of low-income women to a taxpayer-funded abortion. Sadly, Gomez is unlikely to be overturned without a change in federal law or a state constitutional amendment."

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Community Church said the decision marks a step backwards for the country.

"We have long stood for reproductive freedom, and we're appalled by this decision. The innate right to self-determination must, perforce, include the right to control over one's own body – and, certainly, to one's own reproduction. The United States was founded on the principles of religious liberty and individual freedom – along with personal responsibility. That the very institutions of a country that prides itself on liberty have now taken this step backward is horrifying," Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston said. "No civilized nation can eliminate basic freedoms without descending the legendary 'slippery slope' towards totalitarianism. How many times have we seen this in human history? How many more times must we see it?"

By WCCO Staff

Republican lawmakers in neighboring states praise court's ruling

With Minnesota now or soon to be an island for abortion rights in the upper Midwest, Republican lawmakers in neighboring states have issued statements praising the decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

"Today is a victory for life and for those who have fought for decades to protect the unborn. For almost fifty years the decision of nine unelected Justices have prevented a democratically derived consensus on the profound moral issue of abortion to be formed," Wisconsin's Sen. Ron Johnson said. "This decision will now allow that democratic process to unfold in each state to determine at what point does society have the responsibility to protect life. Hopefully, the debate will be conducted with sincerity, compassion, and respect for the broad range of views that people hold."

On Friday, Planned Parenthood said it was "temporarily suspending" abortion services and looking at legal options.

Wisconsin gubernatorial hopeful Tim Michels, who seeks to unseat Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, said:

"It is important that we continue to compassionately work on winning hearts and minds. We need to build a world that is safer for all, a world where better education is provided, and an economy that allows for all to prosper. Life must always be protected. We should not demonize those who don't believe that, but rather redouble our efforts to show how they can provide a high quality of life for their children."

In Iowa, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds reportedly may call a special legislative session to pass abortion restrictions.

"I won't rest until every unborn Iowan is protected and respected," she said, according to the Des Moines Register.

"The Supreme Court's decision respects the sanctity of life and rightfully denies that the Constitution provided a right to abortion. The ruling is consistent with my work as Governor of North Dakota and in the Senate to advance pro-life legislation and support policies that protect the health of mothers and children," North Dakota's Sen. John Hoeven said. "At the same time, this is a historic ruling for both life and states' rights, and we will continue working to protect the unborn and preserve the sanctity of life."

By WCCO Staff

Aurora FC issues statement, saying they're "angry" over ruling

By WCCO Staff

Wisconsin Planned Parenthood suspends abortion services

Wisconsin's Planned Parenthood says that they are "temporarily suspending" abortion services and looking at legal options following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

The president and CEO of Wisconsin's Planned Parenthood, Tanya Atkinson, says they will still help patients navigate to states where abortion remains legal.

Wisconsin has a pre-Roe v. Wade law that's been on the books since 1849.

By WCCO Staff

Local Planned Parenthood: "Our doors are open"

Planned Parenthood North Central States issued a statement Friday morning, saying that abortion rights remain intact in Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa.

"The U.S. Supreme Court decision is wrong and will harm millions of people," Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States said, adding:

"This decision is an unconscionable rollback of fundamental rights for all people in the United States. Because people's right to access abortion is no longer guaranteed by federal law, it now depends on where you live and how much money you have to travel out of state for abortion care. Forced pregnancy is a grave violation of human rights and dignity. We have been preparing for months to be able to best serve patients across our region. Our doors are open and Planned Parenthood is committed to providing abortion care where it remains legal. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We are now living through an unmatched moment where our rights to bodily autonomy are being decimated and, therefore, our democracy is being threatened. Now is the time for every person who supports abortion rights to stand up and act."

Trigger laws in North and South Dakota end abortion rights in those states. Wisconsin has a pre-Roe v. Wade law on the books.

In May, WCCO's Caroline Cummings reported on how Planned Parenthood in Minnesota is preparing for a surge in women seeking abortions.

"We've been working on a number of different models for a while to see if we can get our arms around it, assuming Minnesota becomes land locked and the only safest place to get an abortion," she said.

By WCCO Staff

State's GOP, DFL parties issue statements

While abortion remains legal in Minnesota, experts expect abortion to jump to front of the line in state elections. Both parties released statements following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Friday morning.

"This is a tremendous victory for the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law, and the sanctity of life. It was widely accepted that Roe v. Wade was deeply flawed on constitutional grounds. As Republicans, our party has always stood for human rights, including those of the unborn. With today's rulings, The Supreme Court returned to the states and the people their rightful authority to govern themselves and protect the unborn," Republican Party of Minnesota chair David Hann said.

"This Supreme Court's ruling is a travesty of justice that will inflict tremendous suffering on countless people across America. With federal abortion protection gone, we know that Republicans are going to redouble their efforts to ban abortion in Minnesota, as Scott Jensen, Doug Wardlow, and Jim Schultz have promised," Minnesota DFL Party chair Ken Martin said. "The Minnesota DFL Party and our leaders will do everything in our power to defend access to abortion. Voters who don't want to see anyone jailed for seeking reproductive health care must show up and vote like our health depends on it, because it does. Republicans will use the same playbook they used nationally to erode protections for abortion here in Minnesota, and the only way to stop that is by defeating them at the ballot box."

United States Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision
Demonstrators gather outside the United States Supreme Court as the court rules in the Dobbs v. Women's Health Organization abortion case, overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, on June 24, 2022. MICHAEL MCCOY / REUTERS
By WCCO Staff

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Jensen says "many lives diminished" by Roe v. Wade

In the Minnesota governor race, Republican Party nominee Dr. Scott Jensen says the only exception should be to save the life of the mother not for rape or incest. He issued a statement Friday morning reading, in part:

"We have seen many lives diminished after this court ruling decades ago. While Minnesota's Supreme Court ruled that there is a right to an abortion, as governor I still want to seek out loving and caring alternatives like universal adoption, family planning measures to prevent pregnancies and policies like counseling and alternative referrals, medical assistance and other measures that value people - both born and unborn. I will be a leader that will solve problems, as I have done before such as bipartisan insulin legislation, which values life.  Minnesota values are not 'up-to-the-moment-of-birth' abortions as Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan support. The restrictions allowed by our courts are supported by the vast majority of Minnesotans and late term, nine month abortions championed by Tim Walz are not Minnesota values. I would ask Minnesotans to carefully reflect on that position, along with many other distinctive differences like gas prices, public safety and inflation and choose better leadership that offers positive solutions for this state."

By WCCO Staff

"How dare they?": Senators Klobuchar, Smith respond

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, both members of the Democratic Party, issued statements following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade and, with that, abortion rights in many states.

Klobuchar released the following tweets:

Smith, who was once the president of Planned Parenthood, issued the following statement:

"This is a terrible day for America.  Roe v. Wade has been overturned. For almost 50 years, American women have had the freedom and constitutional right to make their own decisions about abortion. This right respected individual autonomy and the capacity of people to make good, moral decisions about abortion. This activist Supreme Court—and the Republican Senators and President who put them there—have gutted that right, because they think they know better than American women, whose lives and stories they will never know. How dare they? The Republicans who brought us to this point are dramatically outside the mainstream of American views, and they need to explain why they believe they should have this power over women. In the meantime, I won't stop until safe, reliable access to abortion care is again a guaranteed right."

By WCCO Staff

Gov. Walz responds: "We will not turn back the clock on reproductive rights"

Gov. Tim Walz said that the U.S. Supreme Court decision will not change the status of abortion rights in Minnesota.

"We will not turn back the clock on reproductive rights," Walz tweeted.

"Reproductive rights are on the ballot in November, and the stakes could not be higher. The governor's office is now the last line of defense against an abortion ban in Minnesota," Walz said in a statement released shortly thereafter.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan issued her own statement, which reads:

"This disastrous ruling leaves Minnesotans with a clear choice. As long as we are in the governor's office, Gov. Walz and I will not put anti-choice judges on the state Supreme Court and we will block any anti-choice legislation. The Republican ticket has promised to pass one of the most extreme abortion bans in the nation – we cannot let that happen. We ask Minnesotans to come together to protect our reproductive rights from a dangerous anti-choice agenda."

By WCCO Staff
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