Gov. Tim Walz said this week that he is “open” to the idea of enshrining abortion access in Minnesota’s state constitution
“I think making sure we have the strength in place, making sure we continue to firewall, I’m certainly open to, if the legislature determines that’s the best route,” Walz said in response to a question about the possibility of a ballot amendment on abortion during the 2024 election. Every seat in the Minnesota House also will be up for election in November. Democrats currently hold a 70-64 majority in that chamber, meaning Republicans need to pick up just four seats to take back control.
MN Gov. Tim Walz says he's open to a constitutional amendment on abortion. This comes after he signed a bill last year that legalizes abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy. pic.twitter.com/rp288I5rQh
— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) January 10, 2024
The question was asked during a press conference Monday held by Walz and other state officials with Planned Parenthood. Former DFL Rep. Ruth Richardson, who is also the CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, was present and spoke during the press conference.
Walz praised other states that have “protections” for abortion in their state constitutions. “Montana is somewhat of an outlier out in that part of the country … they have strong constitutional protections [for abortion],” he said. “That’s the only thing standing between them being Idaho.”
In Minnesota, constitutional amendments must be approved first by the legislature and then a majority of voters.
Walz emphasized that he believes the state needs to make sure that Planned Parenthood has “adequate funding.”
Richardson also responded to the question about amending the Minnesota Constitution, saying that it should be put to a public vote. “The majority of people support access to abortion care,” she said.
“Make no mistake that Minnesota will continue to fight to ensure that people have access to gender-affirming care, to abortion care, and reproductive care overall,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said during the press conference.
They also discussed the massive increase in abortions in Minnesota since Roe v. Wade was overturned. According to Richardson and others, abortions performed in the state have increased by 25% in that time.
Democrats already passed a bill during the 2023 legislative session that legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. They also removed language in state statute providing protections for babies who survive abortions while stripping funding from pregnancy resource centers.
State Rep. Walter Hudson discussed Walz’s comments on the “Jon Justice Show” Wednesday morning.
“We want to amend the constitution to ensure that’s going to be eternally legal. That’s Gov. Walz’s proud agenda for 2024,” Hudson said. “This would be the first time, to my knowledge, that the Minnesota Constitution would be amended with the purpose of denying civil rights to an entire category of human beings.”
“This is morally worse than if you were to repeal the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution. This is morally worse than if you were to reinstitute chattel slavery,” he added. “This is amending a state’s constitution … for the purpose of killing people. That’s what this is.”
“What happened to American courage? Where did it go?” Hudson asked, calling on Republicans to stand firmly against any proposal to enshrine abortion in the Minnesota Constitution.