MINNEAPOLIS -- As the nation waits for the Supreme Court to rule on Roe v. Wade, Minnesota is working to get ahead of any decision. That means being ready if the court does decide to overturn that 1973 decision that makes abortion legal in all 50 states.
Minnesota and Illinois are the only states in the upper Midwest that where abortion rights are solid in their constitutional law, and would see no change to abortion access should the ruling be overturned. A federal law falling will not change anything in either state.
However, Minnesota is preparing for an Influx of people coming to the state for reproductive care.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, the president of the upper Midwest region of Planned Parenthood, and a law professor from Mitchell Hamline all spoke Tuesday morning about the state's plans.
Sarah Stoesz, the regional president of Planned Parenthood, said they are increasing staff and their physical footprint right now to prepare for more patients coming from other states for abortions. She says they've already stopped abortions appointments in South Dakota, which has a trigger law in place, which means there's an automatic state abortion ban that goes into place if the federal right is overturned.
"We chose instead to help them schedule appointments in other places where abortion is more reliable, at least for now," she said. "In Minnesota we have to work harder than ever before to be the good neighbor that we all want to be, and to welcome women from other states so they're able to have the abortion procedures that are necessary for them."
Ellison said that he vows to protect those who come here for an abortion from being prosecuted.
"No one who travels from another state to Minnesota is going to be prosecuted. No one from another state who has a miscarriage while in Minnesota will be prosecuted. No one helping someone else travel from another state to seek an abortion in Minnesota will be prosecuted. And no provider who travels from another state will be prosecuted. I will directly intervene to stop any such prosecution in Minnesota," Ellison said.
Ellison also said he vows to fight extradition requests from other states who try to prosecute out-of-state patients. The AG's office has launched a new website that explains abortions rights in Minnesota.
The anti-abortion group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life issued a statement that said:
The attorney general has a mandate to enforce Minnesota's laws. He does not have a mandate to advertise abortion. But that's what today's press conference was all about. Regardless of his personal support for abortion, we expect Attorney General Ellison to uphold our laws, which include our Woman's Right to Know law and our parental notification law. These protections help support and empower pregnant women in Minnesota. We hope and will watch to see that the attorney general maintains his commitment to the law going forward.
The next possible decision day by the U.S. Supreme Court on Roe V Wade would be this Thursday.
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