Several Minnesota moms are asking the state’s Court of Appeals to let them intervene in defense of abortion regulations that they say protect “the health and safety of women and young girls.”
The group, known as Mothers Offering Maternal Support (MOMS), is represented by attorney Teresa Collett and presented oral arguments Wednesday in defense of their motion to intervene in the case.
At the center of the case is a July 2022 ruling from Ramsey County Judge Thomas Gilligan, who struck down several longstanding abortion regulations in response to a lawsuit filed by abortion advocates, including a two-parent notification law, which required both parents of a minor to be given notice 48 hours before their daughter’s abortion procedure.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, which is tasked with defending Minnesota’s laws, declined to appeal Gilligan’s decision. Collett believes the state did not adequately defend its laws against the initial lawsuit, noting that Gilligan “repeatedly referenced the state’s failure to provide evidence in their defense of the law.”
“This case is ultimately about protecting our daughters, but today’s arguments focused on the inadequate representation of parents’ rights and MOMS’ right to defend their members’ unique interests in the courts,” Collett said in a statement. “MOMS’ statutory rights should have been vigorously defended by the state in the courts, that is the Attorney General’s job. We believe the judges on our panel today will understand the importance of this case and our request for intervention, and are hopeful the Court of Appeals will grant MOMS’ request to intervene.”
The state has sought to prevent MOMS from intervening in the case, effectively arguing that “Minnesota mothers have no rights that differ from those of government officials,” according to a press release. If the Minnesota Court of Appeals grants MOMS’ request to intervene, the case will be sent back to the district court where MOMS will seek to reopen the case to “present compelling evidence regarding the value of parental notice, evidence that the defendants failed to put before the court.”
“MOMS’ intervention is critical as this case will have a profound impact on Minnesota women, as well as young girls and their parents,” said MOMS representative Jessica Chastek. “Creating a culture that, as a rule, allows children to make irreversible, life-altering decisions, without the knowledge or input of their parents — the people who know them best and love them more than anyone else — is reckless. Moreover, without this law our daughters are at risk of sexual abuse and trafficking by predators who will seek to take advantage of open access to our daughters.”
“It is astounding that a law which simply ensures that parents have an opportunity to be engaged and available for our daughters at a time when they need maternal support the most has been deemed unconstitutional. Even worse, we, MOMS, have no one to defend us or our young daughters,” she added. “With this looming threat to our daughters’ health and safety, we are grateful to have had the opportunity to present our argument in court today. We are in this for the long haul.”