Keith Ellison won’t challenge ruling that struck down abortion restrictions

The attorney general explained that even if he were to appeal the ruling, it is “unlikely” there would be a different result.

Keith Ellison speaks at a rally in 2016. (Lorie Shaull/Flickr)

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison issued a statement Thursday saying he won’t appeal a recent Ramsey County judge’s ruling that tossed out several longstanding abortion restrictions, including the 24-hour waiting period and parental notification requirements.

“As Minnesota’s attorney general, I must consider the broad public interest in deciding whether to appeal any court outcome, including rulings related to the constitutionality of state laws,” Ellison said in his statement. “The public interest includes a number of factors, including the likelihood of success of an appeal, the proper and careful use of state resources, the impact on other areas of state law, and the public’s need for finality.”

The ruling comes after three years of litigation in the case, known as Doe v. Minnesota, brought by abortion rights groups pushing to cancel more than a dozen restrictions.

The attorney general said Minnesota taxpayers have spent more than $600,000 in defending the abortion laws, therefore “appealing the case is not a proper or prudent use of limited state resources.”

The attorney general explained that even if he were to appeal the ruling, it is “unlikely” there would be a different result.

“At most, an appeal would remand the case to the district court for a bench trial in front of the same judge, where the State would once again be unlikely to prevail for the reasons the court outlined in its July 11 ruling,” he said.

On July 11, Ramsey County District Court Judge Thomas Gilligan struck down several Minnesota laws that he said were unconstitutional. Gilligan overturned five abortion laws and upheld one, citing the Minnesota Constitution and the 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court case Doe v. Gomez.

“Forcing abortion patients to go beyond informed consent, to require them to be really, really certain of their decision, insults their intelligence and decision-making capabilities,” Gilligan wrote in his 140-page ruling.

Republican-endorsed attorney general candidate Jim Schultz criticized Ellison’s decision on Twitter, saying “these bipartisan statues are clearly constitutional and Minnesota deserves an attorney general who will stand up to activist judges.”

MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach responded to Ellison’s decision to not appeal the ruling in Doe v. Minnesota.

“Doe v. Minnesota is an extreme and mistaken ruling that eliminated commonsense abortion policies in Minnesota. We are deeply disappointed that the attorney general has decided not to appeal it,” Fischbach wrote.

He added that “too many of our leaders, including Gov. Walz, favor this no-limits approach to abortion rather than supporting reasonable laws that most Minnesotans can agree with.”

According to general counsel for True North Renee Carlson, the ruling could make Minnesota an “abortion destination.” The state health department’s most recent data reports out-of-state women made up about 10% of abortions performed in Minnesota.