The Minnesota DFL’s abortion agenda could be in jeopardy, Democratic legislators revealed during a “reproductive freedom” rally at the Capitol Tuesday.
“We absolutely cannot stop with the PRO Act,” said Sen. Jen McEwen, DFL-Duluth, referring to the Protect Reproductive Options Act.
That bill was signed into law last month and grants Minnesotans a “fundamental right” to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
“Sometimes politicians get scared,” McEwen said. “You have a core group of champions in the Legislature and we are ready to fight and we will throw down for these values, but there are other people who are scared.”
“They’re scared. They’re hearing terrible fire and brimstone messages from certain small minorities within our state who want to take away people’s fundamental rights,” she continued.
Next on the DFL’s agenda is HF91/SF70, which would repeal the state’s remaining regulations on abortion. This includes medical protections for infants who survive abortions, a ban on using public funds for the procedure under MinnesotaCare, and reporting requirements for abortion providers.
According to Rep. Kaohly Vang Her, DFL-St. Paul, a “few white men” are “standing between us and being able to get this across the finish line.”
“We are having a hard time with the repealer. We were very clear and advocates were very clear that the PRO Act and the repealer had to go together,” she said, noting that there are “members in our caucus who cannot vote for the repealer.”
Democrats control the Minnesota Senate by just one seat. Some races in November’s midterms came down to just a few hundred votes.
“We were sent here and we got a trifecta … this issue is the reason we have the trifecta right now. And yet we are afraid to do the work that you’ve asked us to do,” Vang Her added. “The truth is that every single thing that has been included in that repealer needs to be taken away.”
Democrats are also pushing a bill called the “Reproductive Freedom Defense Act,” which would protect women from out of state who come to Minnesota for abortions.
For her DFL colleagues who are on the fence, Sen. Lindsey Port from Burnsville put it bluntly: “These bills are non-negotiable.”