Minnesota Governor signs bill protecting access to abortion
ST. PAUL (Valley News Live) - Governor Tim Walz is signing a bill protecting access to abortion and reproductive health care for Minnesotans.
The Protect Reproductive Options Act, or PRO Act, narrowly passed in the Minnesota Senate on Saturday. Lawmakers debated for over 14 hours, as Republicans attempted to add in amendments that were ultimately all rejected. The House passed the bill in mid-January.
Alongside the Governor and other Minnesota lawmakers at Tuesday’s bill signing is the President of Planned Parenthood North Central States, an OB/GYN and a patient.
“The message that we’re sending to Minnesota today is very clear, your rights are protected in this state, you have the right to make your own decisions about your health, your family and your life,” Walz said.
Though abortion rights are already protected in Minnesota because of a 1995 Supreme Court decision, Democrats frame the PRO Act as a second line of defense.
Walz and other Democrats have said this legislation is one of the top priorities for this session. The room erupted with cheers and applause after the bill was signed.
There are other, related bills moving through the legislature, which could repeal restrictions and protect patients and providers from out-of-state legal action. House Speaker Melissa Hortman says the bills will be on the floor by the second week of February.
Republicans have called the bill “dangerous” and “extreme.” They say they are worried that it does not set any limits on when an abortion can be performed, arguing that a parent could end a pregnancy up until birth.
North Dakota’s only abortion clinic, the Red River Women’s Clinic, opened a location in Minnesota so they could continue helping women in the area.
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