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Too extreme for Minnesota.

Update: The Minnesota legislature has failed to pass the ERA. Read more here.

Abortion up to birth in the Constitution? That's too extreme for Minnesota. 

Minnesota law already allows abortion without limits. Now some legislators and advocates want to permanently enshrine this policy in the state Constitution—while excluding protection for the rights of conscience and religion. Learn more about the proposed amendment (SF 37—the so-called "Equal Rights Amendment").

The current version of the proposal is also dishonest. If the bill passes, voters would be asked on the ballot to protect equal rights based on "pregnancy" (among other things), with no mention of abortion. Voters would never see the language in the bill that defines the word "pregnancy" to include the right to unlimited abortion! 

What can you do right now?

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Minnesota’s extreme abortion policy and the proposal to enshrine it in the Constitution 

Does Minnesota law really allow abortion for any reason—all the way up to birth? 


Yes. In 2023, lawmakers enacted a “fundamental right” to abortion (HF 1) with no limitations at any stage in pregnancy (legislators rejected dozens of amendments that would have made the law more moderate, including amendments to prevent elective abortions in the third trimester). Lawmakers in 2023 also repealed a 1974 law that had limited abortion after viability, leaving no gestational limit remaining in Minnesota statute (SF 2995). Now, in 2024, some lawmakers and advocates want to enshrine this extreme policy in the Minnesota Constitution so that future lawmakers won’t be able to legislate on the issue.  

Aren’t late abortions extremely rare or non-existent? 


Although most abortions occur earlier in pregnancy, 294 Minnesota abortions took place at 20 weeks or later in 2022 alone, according to the Department of Health. And the numbers are likely to increase following the 2023 legal changes, which included repeal of the law limiting abortion after viability. (Prior to its repeal, the legal status of the viability law had been unclear, but abortion practitioners still “adhered to it in practice,” according to an analysis in Minnesota Reformer.) 


Now, no legal obstacle remains to prevent practitioners who focus on abortions late in pregnancy (like Warren Hern and the late LeRoy Carhart) from setting up shop in Minnesota—or to prevent existing abortion facilities from expanding the window during which they perform abortions. Passage of the proposed constitutional amendment would be a further invitation to anyone who wants to practice late abortion in Minnesota.  

In fact, a former practitioner of third-trimester abortions in Kansas and New Mexico told the Sahan Journal that she “would not feel comfortable opening a third-trimester practice in Minnesota” when the viability law remained on the books, but that she would be open to it after the law’s repeal. “If I could find a hospital that would provide backup without regard to gestational age, then I would consider setting up a clinic in Minnesota,” she said. “Being surrounded by anti-abortion states, Minnesota would be a good location for a clinic.” 

Don't late abortions only happen for health reasons? 


Evidence actually shows that late abortions are usually elective. “Data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment,” explains a study published in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Arizona has collected data on health reasons for abortion at different stages of pregnancy, and the data indicate that about 80 percent of abortions at 21 weeks or later are not related to health at all (whether fetal health or maternal health). In any case, Minnesota’s extreme policy allows late abortions for any reason and is not limited to reasons of fetal or maternal health. 

What makes Minnesota’s policy the most extreme in the country? 


In addition to establishing a fundamental right to abortion without limits, at any time during pregnancy, Minnesota lawmakers in 2023 repealed numerous longstanding abortion-related laws. The repealed laws included a measure protecting born-alive infants from being left to die, a program providing practical support to pregnant women, a requirement that women receive informed consent before abortion, and a requirement that only physicians perform abortion.  


With the repeal of the born-alive protection, Minnesota law no longer requires that “reasonable measures consistent with good medical practice” be taken “to preserve the life and health of the born alive infant.” Instead, only “care” is required, which the bill's author described as “comfort" care (as opposed to lifesaving treatment). The language also now applies to any babies born alive, not just ones who survive abortion. Thus, while this change threatens abortion survivors, it could also endanger babies born with disabilities and congenital illnesses. 

When do unborn children feel pain? 


Growing evidence shows that unborn children can feel pain earlier than previously thought. A leading researcher whose work was often cited by abortion defenders (because he held that unborn children couldn’t feel pain until 24 weeks) has changed his mind in light of this evidence, writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics that fetal pain is possible as early as 12 weeks. More than 1,600 Minnesota abortions took place after that point in 2022, often involving a brutal process of dismemberment.

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