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Group Pushes Back On 'Restrictive' Minnesota Abortion Laws

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The abortion debate is heating up here in Minnesota.

Pro-choice advocates are seeking a lawsuit to overturn laws they say restrict access to abortions in the state. Gender Justice says the attack on safe, legal and essential reproductive care is under attack across the nation.

The group tells our Reg Chapman how it hopes to safeguard the rights of Minnesotans.

"Minnesota's abortion laws are not only outdated, they are harmful. Far too often they prevent people from getting the care that they need when they need it," said Megan Peterson from Gender Justice.

Members of Gender Justice joined other advocacy organizations in a fight to protect the reproductive rights of women in Minnesota.

"Minnesotans deserve high-quality health care, health care that's not attached to a political agenda, and the ability to make their own personal decisions," said Rev. Kelli Clement of First Unitarian Society.

A lawsuit filed in Ramsey County by the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis and two health care provider's aims to get rid of laws on the books that they believe restrict a woman's access to abortions.

"There's a law that prevents advanced practice clinicians from prescribing medication abortion or providing the procedure early in pregnancy, even though its well within their scope of practice," said Erin Maye Quade of Gender Justice.

Gender Justice claims lawmakers have passed laws since 1995 restricting a woman's right to an abortion subsequently violating a state supreme court ruling.

"The Minnesota Supreme Court found in 1995 that there is a fundamental right to privacy, including abortion, in our state constitution that goes above and beyond the federal constitution's protections," said Peterson.

Groups that oppose abortion like Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life say the lawsuit is far-reaching and challenges laws that are very reasonable.

"We think that's a very bad decision that should be reversed because we don't think it's consistent with what the constitution actually says," said Paul Stark of Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life. "The lawsuit would take away a women's right to informed consent prior to abortion. It would challenge the requirement that parents are notified prior to a minor having an abortion."

The Minnesota GOP says the laws being targeted are not extreme or restrictive. Instead, they are safeguards in place to adequately inform pregnant women, protect minors and defend life.

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