WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What do the new court rulings mean for Minnesota?
Two major court rulings on abortion were handed down in the summer of 2022. Here’s what you need to know about these decisions and what they mean for Minnesota.
The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.
On June 24, in its landmark Dobbs v. Jackson decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the extreme 1973 ruling that struck down laws protecting unborn children and imposed abortion-on-demand nationwide. Roe had no basis in the Constitution and wrongly prohibited Americans from protecting unborn children, the Court concluded. As a result of Dobbs, the American people and their elected officials are now free to decide their own abortion laws. Read more about Dobbs.
A state court ruling, Doe v. Gomez, continues to require legalized abortion in Minnesota.
Despite the Dobbs ruling, nothing can immediately change in Minnesota. The Minnesota Supreme Court’s 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision claimed that the state Constitution includes a right to abortion. This ruling continues to require abortion-on-demand in Minnesota even though the U.S. Supreme Court no longer does.
Another ruling, Doe v. Minnesota, has now eliminated even modest protective laws in Minnesota.
On July 11, a radical decision in Ramsey County District Court struck down a number of existing pro-life laws in Minnesota. The ruling in Doe v. Minnesota nullified Minnesota’s Woman’s Right to Know law (which ensures informed consent before abortion), parental notification law (which ensures that parents are notified prior to an abortion on a minor), and a law preventing non-physicians from performing abortions, among other policies. The District Court judge cited Doe v. Gomez as the basis for eliminating these commonsense laws. Read more about Doe v. Minnesota.
What can be done to protect unborn children in our state?
The ruling in Doe v. Minnesota must be appealed so that longstanding laws like Woman’s Right to Know and parental notification—policies that help empower and support women and reduce the number of abortions—can be reinstated.
Going forward, the election of pro-life candidates for governor and state Legislature is necessary in order to enact protections for unborn children and their mothers—and to challenge the harmful Doe v. Gomez ruling. The Legislature is responsible for passing legislation, and the governor is responsible for signing or vetoing legislation as well as appointing justices to the Minnesota Supreme Court who could decide the fate of Gomez.