Ensuring all individuals, regardless of their income level, have the same ability to access all of their reproductive health care options

Case Background

In Minnesota, abortions are covered for individuals on Medical Assistance (MA) or General Assistance (GA) if the abortions are "therapeutic" (as opposed to elective). All abortions must fall under certain guidelines and have physician approval before they can be covered under MA or GA. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) requires the provider to fill out a "Medical Necessity Statement" designating the reason that the abortion is being performed.

The Alliance Defense Fund sued DHS in 2012 saying that DHS is improperly paying for abortions that are actually elective, not therapeutic. They argue that because 90% of the time providers who fill out the "Medical Necessity Statement" check a box that says "the abortion is done for other health reasons" they don't have a real medical reason and are actually elective.

The Minnesota District Court dismissed the case, but the plaintiffs (Alliance Defense Fund), appealed the case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The ACLU-MN filed a brief in November 2013 arguing that the dismissal was not appropriate because not only would this put the State between a woman and her doctor's private medical decisions but that a woman's right to an abortion is protected by numerous court decisions both federally and at the state level.


After the plaintiffs appealed to the case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals who upheld the decision of the Minnesota District Court, they appealed the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court as well. On August 5, 2014, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ appeal. Which leaves the lower court ruling standing - victory!


Lawrence M. Shapiro, Jenny Gassman-Pines, Karl C. Procaccini and Janine A. Wetzel all of Greene Espel, PLLP

Date filed

November 4, 2013


Minnesota Supreme Court