Commentary: We could end abortion in Minnesota

It is not "settled law." Roe v. Wade is a dubious U.S. Supreme Court opinion. Law is written by the legislative branch.

Teresa Boardman/Flickr

The 2022 legislative session began with a volley between the pro-life cause and the pro-abortion cause. To understand the great importance of what is happening in St. Paul, let’s first look at what is happening at the national level, and then the path to end abortion in Minnesota.

On Sept. 1, 2021, Texas passed the most stringent laws we have seen by banning abortion after six weeks and after the first fetal heartbeat. Under this Texas law, any individual may sue an abortion provider or anyone who aids and abets in the abortion procedure for $10,000. In the first month of the law being in effect, Texas saw abortions drop 60%. The law has been moving up and down the court system with the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting a hearing on the case. They didn’t see it as an infringement on our rights.

On Dec. 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court heard it’s most compelling case to end abortion in over 30 years. It is a case challenging a Mississippi law that eliminates abortions after 15 weeks. Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973 and reaffirmed in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey when the court decided that abortion could not be eliminated by state law prior to viability, which was considered 22-24 weeks at that time.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, appointed to the high court by former President Donald Trump, said about the Mississippi law, “Why should this court be the arbiter rather than Congress, the state legislatures, state supreme courts, the people being able to resolve this?”

This line of thought would respect the 10th Amendment, which states that anything not in the Constitution should be sent back to the states and the people.

If the majority opinion recognizes this constitutional reality, then states will be allowed to legislate their own abortion policy, nullifying Roe v. Wade. In the end, this would save millions of lives.

What about precedents? Justice Kavanaugh listed several of the Supreme Court’s major rulings, including Brown v. Board of Education, which allowed unconstitutional racial segregation in schools, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, to demonstrate that the court has overruled precedent, as it is being asked to do in the Mississippi dispute.

There are six conservative justices and three liberal justices on the court. The liberal justices are now cautioning their colleagues that the duty of the court is not to legislate. Disregarding precedent will damage the credibility of the court, they warn. As if we haven’t seen liberals legislating from the bench before.

The high court’s decision in the Mississippi case will be announced this summer.

Turning to what is happening at the state level, in St. Paul, on day one of the 2022 legislative session, Rep. Tim Miller submitted a bill that emulates the Texas legislation. Rep. Steve Drazkowski signed onto the bill three days later, followed by Rep. John Poston.

DFL Sen. Lindsey Port, mother of two, claimed that it took “exactly one day” for Republicans to introduce an abortion ban, saying, “Make no mistake, reproductive care is under attack in [Minnesota], and the time is now to stand up and fight.”

“Reproductive care” is clearly a misnomer. Abortion is reproductive ruin.

DFL Rep. Tina Liebling, chair of the House Health Committee and mother of three, called the bill a “Texas-style radical anti-abortion bill” that comes as the U.S. Supreme Court “seems poised to throw out 50 years of settled law that allows the person who is pregnant — not politicians — to decide whether to have an abortion.”

It is not “settled law.” Roe v. Wade is a dubious U.S. Supreme Court opinion. Law is written by the legislative branch.

“This is a warning to Minnesotans of what will happen if Republicans get control of the Legislature and the governor’s office,” Liebling said. “They will go to extremes to stop pregnant Minnesotans from accessing the full range of pregnancy care, including the right to a safe, convenient abortion. Minnesotans deserve the right to make decisions about abortion based on their own values and priorities, without interference from politicians.”

There is no such thing as a safe or convenient abortion. During the abortion procedure, the uterus can be ruptured or the cervix may be compromised. Abortion can cause infertility, which is not reproductive health. Other possible side effects include sepsis, hemorrhaging, infection, scarring, incomplete abortions that lead to more procedures, and even death. Mental health challenges plague many women in the aftermath of abortion with high instances of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. Abortion harms women.

DFL Sen. Erin Murphy, mother of twins, had this to say: “Across the country, we are seeing mounting attacks on legal abortion. That effort showed up today in Minnesota. On the first day of session, threats to our reproductive freedom, to the full range of health care, and to our autonomy as people are being advanced in the Minnesota legislature in the form of a Texas-style abortion ban.”

It is fascinating to hear a member of the DFL talk about autonomy, as they force masks and vaccine mandates on the public, shut down schools, churches, and businesses, and spend away our children’s futures — all the while disregarding the autonomy of an unborn child, a person with unique DNA.

The Minnesota DFL’s dead-baby caucus said the “work to protect this fundamental right has never been more important.”

There is no fundamental right to kill the unborn. Abortion is one of the gravest stains upon our great republic.

I urge more representatives to sign onto Rep. Miller’s bill, and we need some leadership in the Senate to get a companion bill. Odds are this bill won’t pass out of the House with a Democratic majority, nor will it hit Gov. Tim Walz’s desk, where he wouldn’t sign it anyway. But it encourages a lot of good conversations about who we are as a state. Do we protect the unborn in Minnesota?

We may be able to decide the cause for life in Minnesota. An island in a sea of conservative states, Minnesota remains a less-friendly place to raise a family and start a business.

This is why the 2022 election is vital. We must retain the Republican majority in the Senate, win the majority back in the House, and elect a Republican governor. We must be sure that we are sending the most pro-active, pro-life team to St. Paul. We have a path to end abortion in Minnesota. We can’t let this fall through our hands.


Amanda Hughes

Amanda Hughes lives in northwestern Minnesota with her husband, Dave, and their seven children including one through adoption.