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Gov. Walz open to constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights on November's ballot

Out-of-state abortions to surge even more in Minnesota
Out-of-state abortions to surge even more in Minnesota 02:03

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota is seeing a dramatic surge in patients coming here from other states to get abortions. Planned Parenthood officials have told Gov. Tim Walz they expect a surge to continue as more states move to restrict abortion access.

"Since Roe was overturned a year and a half ago, Minnesota has become an island with access for abortion care," Minnesota Planned Parenthood CEO Ruth Richardson said Monday.

Officials estimate that there has been a 25% increase in abortions in Minnesota in that time. Fueling that is a 100% increase in the number of patients traveling from other states where abortion is banned or restricted. Patients are coming here for abortions from as far away as Florida and Texas.

On Monday, abortion providers and Walz vowed to keep Minnesota a safe haven for those seeking abortion care.

"These are people's lives, and health care decisions that need to be made by them and their health care providers," Walz said.

RELATED: Thousands of women stocked up on abortion pills, especially following news of restrictions

Planned Parenthood is not just providing care; it's providing resources for those from other states to travel to Minnesota.

"Traveling to a large unknown city can be intimidating and overwhelming, like our patient from a small rural town who became lost in downtown Minneapolis for about two hours with a dead cell phone," Dr. Sarah Traxler said.

Walz says he is open to putting a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights on the November ballot. Minnesota already has a law and state court decisions protecting abortion rights, but opponents say the increased travel here and a constitutional amendment are not good ideas.

"(It) is not what Minnesotans want to be known for. They don't want to be known as an abortion mecca," Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life's Cathy Blaeser said.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman has said that DFL legislators are considering passing a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights. which voters would need to approve this November.

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