Walz signs abortion-up-to-birth bill, entrenching Minnesota as global outlier on abortion policy
January 31, 2023 | Press Release
ST. PAUL — Today Gov. Tim Walz signed into law the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act to enshrine in state statute a “fundamental right” to abortion without limits or safeguards. The bill had passed the House and Senate by narrow margins after DFL leaders quickly pushed it through the legislature in the opening weeks of the session.
“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,” said MCCL Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. “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. It is extreme, inhumane, and harmful to women and children who deserve so much better.”
Polls show that most Minnesotans and most Americans disagree with the no-limits policy enshrined by the PRO Act. A 2022 KSTP/SurveyUSA poll found that only 30 percent of Minnesotans think abortion should always be legal.
During the House and Senate floor debates, bare majorities rejected dozens of amendments that would have made the bill less extreme. The defeated amendments included ones to protect unborn children in the third trimester (with exceptions), to protect against the barbaric procedure known as partial-birth abortion, to provide the option of anesthesia when unborn children can feel pain, and to protect women’s health by requiring that third-trimester abortions take place in a hospital and that abortion facilities be licensed by the state.
Proponents of the PRO Act sought to downplay the reality and frequency of elective late abortions, even though evidence shows that most abortions after 21 weeks occur for elective reasons. “This law doesn’t just allow late abortion for medical emergencies or hard cases,” said Blaeser. “It allows late abortion for any reason whatsoever, and it’s an open invitation to notorious late abortion practitioners to come to Minnesota to set up shop. Here in Minnesota, you don’t even need to be a doctor or have a licensed facility in order to perform abortions. The lack of guardrails to protect women and children is appalling.”
Additional abortion-expanding bills have also been introduced at the Capitol. One bill, H.F. 91/S.F. 70, would repeal numerous longstanding abortion-related laws, including a law protecting newborns who survive abortion.