The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted that abortion rights are now codified by state statute in Minnesota.
Gov. Tim Walz signed the Protect Reproductive Options Act on Tuesday. This vital legislation was spearheaded by state Sen. Jen McEwen, a member of the Legislature’s newly formed Secular Caucus, and was carried over the finish line by a coalition of legislators despite concerted obstruction efforts from the Religious Right.
With the new law, Minnesota joins 16 other states that ensure abortion access. The Protect Reproductive Options Act provides that “every individual has the fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about the individual’s own reproductive health,” including abortion, contraception, fertility treatments, sterilization and other reproductive health care. It emphasizes that the Minnesota Constitution, under the 1995 decision in Doe v. Gomez, ensures the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, and that local units of government cannot restrict an individual’s ability to exercise these fundamental rights.
Last summer, a district court judge declared unconstitutional several Minnesota restrictions, including a 24-hour waiting period and parental notification for minors. The Protect Reproductive Options Act will ensure that Minnesota’s existing protections hold, no matter who sits on future state courts.
“It’s so refreshing to see state legislatures standing up and doing the right thing when it comes to reproductive autonomy,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “During a time when 21 states have enacted full or partial abortion bans, Minnesota has proven itself to be a leader in ensuring that those rights are codified by statute.”
FFRF applauds the hard work of all members of the Minnesota Legislature who made this essential bill become law, including the members of the new Secular Caucus. We will continue to support our allies in the fight for reproductive health and autonomy.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 39,000 members and chapters across the country, including more than 900 members in Minnesota and two local chapters in the state. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.