What does the Supreme Court’s decision that overturns Roe v. Wade mean? 

The Dobbs ruling means there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion. States now will decide for themselves whether abortion is a right or not. That means rights will begin and end at state lines. 

Thirteen states had trigger laws set up to outlaw abortion with the ruling, but the ACLU already has filed lawsuits to halt those bans in several states. Half the states are expected to outlaw abortion overall. That means up to 36 million women and people who can become pregnant will be forced to stay pregnant and give birth. 

What are our rights in Minnesota? 

Abortion will remain legal in Minnesota. It’s in case law here due to a 1995 state Supreme Court case that the ACLU-MN filed an amicus brief in called Doe v. Gomez. The U.S. Constitution is the floor; states can provide more protection, and Minnesota thankfully does provide more protection for our right to privacy. 

A state district judge on July 11, 2022, struck down several restrictions on abortion, due to a lawsuit brought by allies including Gender Justice and Our Justice.  

While this is wonderful news for abortion rights and abortion access, these rights remain vulnerable here. The Minnesota Constitution is easy to amend – it only takes a simple anti-choice majority vote in both bodies of the Legislature to put an amendment on the ballot. Minnesota Supreme Court justices are elected, so the court could change in the future.  

Minnesota will feel pressure. We are an island, surrounded by states that already have outlawed abortion or are expected to do so soon. North and South Dakota both have trigger laws, while Wisconsin has an 1849 law on the books that makes providing an abortion a felony. Iowa lawmakers are trying to reinstate a ban after six weeks, before many people even know they’re pregnant.  

We know that our clinics are going to get even busier. Even before this ruling, people were coming all the way from Texas for abortions here.  

Are there any limits to our reproductive rights in Minnesota? 

Lawmakers have passed numerous limits over the years. On July 11, 2022, a state court judge struck down several of these restrictions as unconstitutional in a lawsuit brought by Gender Justice and The Lawyering Project on behalf of Our Justice and two health care providers. Under the judge’s ruling, the state can no longer: 

  • Require an extra, medically unnecessary appointment and a 24-hour waiting period  
  • Require doctors to provide medically irrelevant information to patients designed to discourage abortion 
  • Prohibit advanced providers such as physician assistants from providing abortion care 
  • Require doctors to provide information about a man’s obligation to pay child support 
  • Require minors to notify both parents – regardless of the relationship between parent and child – before getting an abortion. Before, the only option for a minor to obtain abortion care was to win permission from a judge, and the ACLU-MN had to file suit to win that judicial bypass.

What if I need an abortion?

This site will help you find a provider near you. https://www.ineedana.com/

What will happen next? 

Half the states are expected to ban abortion. Anti-abortion politicians won’t stop there. They already are drawing up plans to ban abortion nationwide. And we know they keep trying to chip away at our rights in Minnesota. The ACLU-MN has to stop these attempts at the Legislature every year.  

We will need to keep up pressure on politicians to make sure they keep abortion legal. That means protesting, calling lawmakers, and most of all, voting. 

Other rights are vulnerable, too, and we’ll have to keep fighting hard. The same politicians behind overturning Roe v. Wade passed a wave of laws against transgender people. They want to control our bodies, our home lives, our schools and who we love. These are our decisions, not the government’s. 

Who will this harm? 

This is a direct attack on women, and allows states to force women to stay pregnant and give birth. It is state control of the womb. Women and people who become pregnant will pay exorbitant medical bills, put their education and careers on hold, and fall even further behind economically. The U.S. has high maternal mortality rates compared to other wealthy nations, so this will mean more deaths. If abortion is banned nationwide, pregnancy-related deaths could increase by 21 percent nationwide, and 33 percent among Black women. 

What is the ACLU-MN doing? 

The ACLU-MN stands prepared to do what we can to protect constitutional rights in Minnesota. We are educating voters about the rights that are at stake in the 2022 election. Our legal team plans to support the Gender Justice lawsuit against abortion restrictions through an amicus brief if there's an appeal. We will keep fighting legislative attempts to outlaw or restrict abortion. We will stand up for individuals  whose rights are violated, including incarcerated people who need abortion care. 

What can I do? Turn outrage into action!

  • Be visible. Organize or attend rallies and protests 
  • Be loud. Call and write your state and federal lawmakers. Tell them, “As a voter and your constituent, I am deeply concerned about the state of reproductive freedom after the Dobbs decision. Please protect abortion access and the right to choose in Minnesota.” Find your lawmakers here: https://www.gis.lcc.mn.gov/iMaps/districts/.  
  • Be an educator. Write letters to the editor about why abortion rights matter. Talk to family and friends. Help get the word out by spreading ACLU-MN social content @aclumn. 
  • Donate: Donate to the aclu-mn.org and other organizations protecting our right to control our own bodies. https://www.aclu-mn.org/en/join-donate-or-both.  
  • Vote your values, including abortion, immigrant, LGBTQ and voting rights, racial justice and more.
  • Vote like your rights depend on it, because they do.