Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed a bill on Tuesday enshrining the right to an abortion up until the point of birth, after the state Senate voted 34-33 in favor of the bill on Saturday following 14 hours of heated debate.
“Today we are not just codifying Roe v. Wade or Doe v. Gomez as the author has indicated,” Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks) lamented after the bill passed the state senate on Monday. “We are enacting the most extreme bill in the country regarding youth sterilization, late-term abortions and public viability for a vast array of new reproductive rights.”
The legislation, known as H.F. 1 or the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act, was written to “cement in state law the right to access reproductive health care options including abortion, birth control, family planning help, and sterilization."
The bill’s author, Sen. Jennifer McEwen (D) claimed the bill enshrines permanent abortion access across the state, no matter what state or federal courts may decide.
“The decisions of our courts, the upholding of our fundamental human rights, are only as strong as the judges that uphold them,” McEwen said. "We have a duty to answer the call of Minnesotans to truly protect those reproductive freedoms, to enshrine them not simply in case law, but in our statutory law. These are our values, this is the practice in Minnesota. This is what we believe.”
Meanwhile, Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life co-executive director Cathy Blaeser compared the legislation to communist states such as China and North Korea, where abortion has long been used as a method of birth control.
“The PRO Act means a right to abort any baby for any reason at any time up to birth. It means that the elective killing of a human being in utero is perfectly legal even in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the child can feel excruciating pain and could live outside the womb. It means that parents have no right to know when their teenage daughter has been taken to undergo an abortion,” Blaeser said in a statement.
“Gov. Walz’s absolutist abortion policy puts Minnesota in the company of just a small handful of countries around the world, including North Korea and China," she continued. "It is extreme, inhumane, and harmful to women and children who deserve so much better.”