Minnesota Gov. Walz signs abortion bill decried by GOP as most ‘extreme’ in nation
Blue states are scrambling to protect abortion access in the wake of Roe v. Wade, but as far as Republicans are concerned, Minnesota has gone too far.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed Tuesday a bill declaring abortion a “fundamental right” that passed without a single vote from Republicans, who called it the most “extreme” abortion legislation in the nation.
Democrats fast-tracked the Protect Reproduction Options Act after winning a one-vote majority in the state Senate in November, placing them in charge of both houses.
At the signing ceremony, the Democrat Walz said the state legislature “carried out the will of the people of Minnesota.”
“We’re now at the signing of a landmark reproductive freedom bill less than one month after taking our oaths of office,” said Mr. Walz. “And after last year’s landmark election across this country, we’re the first state to take legislative action to put these protections in place.”
The legislation guarantees the right to “reproductive health,” including abortion, sterilization, contraception and fertility services, but includes no gestational limits, parental notification requirements, or other restrictions on pregnancy termination.
“It is the most extreme abortion bill in the nation,” said Republican state Sen. Julie Coleman on Fox News.
Just 6 months ago, when appealing to Minnesotans for a second term, Gov. Walz said he does *not* support abortion up to the moment of birth.
And yet, today, he signs the PRO Act into law which allows precisely that.
You’re breaking your promise, Governor. Not keeping it. #mnleg pic.twitter.com/GVeFJr6XKO
— MN House Republicans (@mnhousegop) January 31, 2023
During debate, Democratic legislators rejected more than 60 Republican amendments, including provisions to ban third-trimester abortions except to save the life of the mother; partial-birth procedures; sex-based abortions, and sterilization for minors.
“This bill not only allows for abortion for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy but what it does to strip away parental rights is abhorrent,” Ms. Coleman said. “It not only allows this for minors, but it also allows for minor sterilization without parental consent or notification.”
Minnesota Republicans accused Mr. Walz of reneging on his campaign’s assurance that he did not support abortion until birth.
“The bill the governor signed today provides no protections of any kind for women and families – including for infants born alive during botched abortions,” said Republican Party of Minnesota chairman David Hann. “Make no mistake, this extreme bill provides for taxpayer-funded abortion, on-demand, up until and even after birth.”
Among those who congratulated Mr. Walz for signing the bill was Vice President Kamala Harris.
“I applaud Gov. Walz for signing a bill codifying reproductive rights, including the right to abortion, into Minnesota state law,” she said. “State and local governments must continue to step up to protect reproductive health care for women everywhere.”
Minnesota already allowed abortion until viability under Doe v. Gomez, a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision that found the state constitution protected the right to privacy, but the newly signed law enshrines the ruling in statute.
Democrats have also introduced legislation to codify a July court ruling striking down state laws limiting abortion access, including requirements for a 24-hour waiting period; parental notification for minors seeking abortions, and procedures to be conducted by a medical doctor.
The legislation was approved on a 34-33 vote in the Senate following a marathon 15-hour session Saturday. The House previously passed the bill by 69-65. All but one Democratic legislator voted in favor of the measure.
The Supreme Court’s June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson struck down Roe and sent decisionmaking on abortion back to the states.