SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, the Reproductive Freedom Caucus today announced their legislative priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session.
“Minnesotans sent a message in November, that they believe fundamental rights should be enshrined and protected, not restricted,” said Representative Kaohly Her (DFL-St. Paul) House Chair of the Reproductive Freedom Caucus. “Now, with a pro-choice majority in the Legislature, we are making that a reality by taking steps to codify protections for these rights in state law.”
Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, states across the country moved to enact restrictions and outright bans on reproductive care including abortion. In response, Minnesotans elected a pro-choice majority to both the House and Senate that have made reproductive health care access a priority. The legislation to enshrine the fundamental right to reproductive health care, known as the PRO Act (HF 1, SF 1), passed in the House last night in a 69-65 vote, with the Senate expected to take action on it in the next week.
“Reproductive health care was on the ballot in November, and we heard from Minnesotans who said they want their rights protected, and we made it our top priority,” said Senator Lindsey Port (DFL-Burnsville), Senate Chair of the RFC. “The PRO Act was step one, and now we must continue our work to repeal the unconstitutional laws restricting abortion care with the Reproductive Freedom Codification Act and pass the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act to protect patients who travel here and health care providers.”
The other two RFC legislative priorities are (HF 91, SF 70) and (HF 366, SF 165), the Reproductive Freedom Codification Act which repeals current laws on the books that were found unconstitutional by Minnesota’s courts, and legislation to protect the privacy and rights of patients and providers known as the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act.
“Minnesota’s abortion access is critical right now – for Minnesotans and for people across the country,” said Dr. Sarah Traxler, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood North Central States. “We need the PRO Act so that Minnesotans and all patients know that they are welcome here. We must reassure them that our commitment to reproductive rights and healthcare will not change.”
In addition to the three immediate legislative priorities of the PRO Act, the Reproductive Freedom Codification Act, and the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act, the RFC has adopted three broader priorities for this year’s legislative session: Ensuring equitable access to abortion care, improving whole reproductive health outcomes, and affirming gender identity and secure gender affirming healthcare.
“Essential healthcare including abortion care must be available to those who need it, not just those with means,” said Senator Kelly Morrison (DFL-Deephaven), Vice-Chair of the RFC. “We have tremendous work to do to ensure that every Minnesotan, no matter where they live or what they look like, has equitable access to this essential care.”
“Access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare, including abortion care, is about improving health outcomes for Minnesotans, and ensuring that people are able to live full and healthy lives. This should not be a partisan issue.” said Senator Erin Maye Quade (DFL-Apple Valley). “Every legislator should support policies that help improve health outcomes for all.”
“Every Minnesotan deserves access to the care they need to live full lives, especially those LGBTQ2S+ Minnesotans who are in need of care that affirms their gender identity and allows them to be their authentic selves,” said Representative Leigh Finke (DFL-St. Paul). “We must ensure that LGBTQ2S+ Minnesotans have access to this care, and that we advance policies that make this a reality for everyone who needs it.”
“I am thankful each and every day that we live in Minnesota, a place where our family can access affirming healthcare for our trans child without the fear of the government coming after us for following the expert advice of my child’s care teams,” said Hannah Edwards, Minnesota parent of a trans child.