Ruling to overturn Minnesota’s abortion restrictions will harm women, lawyer says

Planned Parenthood clinics in Minnesota expect up to a 25% increase in out-of-state patients seeking abortions.

A "Remove Minnesota's Restrictions" sign at a Stop Abortion Bans Rally in St Paul, Minnesota. (Lorie Shaull/Flickr)

A Ramsey County judge overturned several abortion restrictions in a Monday ruling, which could make Minnesota an “abortion destination,” according to Renee Carlson, general counsel for True North Legal.

“This opinion completely disregards the safety of women and young girls. The opinion relies on the erroneous holdings in Doe v. Gomez in an attempt to eviscerate critical and reasonable legal protections, and will be hugely consequential to the health and standards of care for all women and young girls,” Carlson said.

The decision could make it even easier for out-of-state women to come to Minnesota to get an abortion. All four states bordering Minnesota either already have bans in place or are moving to restrict the procedure following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Carlson said the Ramsey County ruling is incredibly disappointing and will open the floodgates for abortion-on-demand in Minnesota.

“This is one of the most egregious, radical decisions we’ve seen, especially post-Dobbs,” Carlson said.

Ramsey County Judge Thomas Gilligan overturned five abortion laws and upheld one, citing the Minnesota Constitution and the 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court case Doe v. Gomez.

Gilligan said in his ruling “the court concludes that the fundamental rights conferred by Gomez are the right to obtain an abortion and the right to choose whether to obtain an abortion.”

According to multiple sources, Planned Parenthood clinics in Minnesota expect up to a 25% increase in out-of-state patients seeking abortions.

“The abortion restrictions are there to protect women. There were health and safety concerns with respect to abortion, and this decision takes no consideration for any of those health and safety protections,” Carlson said.

In fact, Gilligan’s ruling struck down provisions requiring abortions to be performed only by physicians and in a hospital or abortion facility after the first trimester.

Carlson said if the decision stands, it opens the door for “continued violence against women who choose not to get an abortion against their partner’s demands, as well as a license for men to prey on young girls, relying on abortion to hide their criminal action.”

This is because Gilligan nixed the “two-parent notification law,” which required both parents of a minor to be given notice 48 hours before an abortion. Under Gilligan’s ruling, abortionists will no longer be required to provide patients with information on the medical risks associated with abortion and how to review materials on alternatives to abortion.

“Despite the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, this baseless decision clings to the mythical right to abortion invented by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Doe v. Gomez,” she said. “In fact, abortion violates the rights of the unborn and hijacks parental rights, separating parents from their daughters at a time when they need them most.”

During a press conference Monday, Keith Ellison, state attorney general, said he hadn’t read the 140-page ruling, but the state has 60 days to appeal.

“I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I also have a duty to defend Minnesota statutes. Both of those are my job at the same time,” Ellison told the press.

“It’s clear Judge Gilligan, who has had this case for three years, has put much thought into this decision that he clearly did not take lightly,” he added in a statement to Alpha News.

With Roe v. Wade overturned, Carlson explained that Minnesota gets the last word, not the U.S. Supreme Court. The district court opinion could still be overturned or modified by the Minnesota Court of Appeals or the Minnesota Supreme Court, if the attorney general appeals.

“At this point, this specific issue is a Minnesota issue. And at this point, it’s at the district court in Minnesota and that’s where we’re at,” Carlson said.

Gilligan’s ruling was a reminder that even with Roe v. Wade overturned, the fight over abortion is far from over.

“If this is the direction Minnesota goes, then we have a lot of work to do,” Carlson said. “We can’t sit back and let this happen to our state.”


Pafoua Yang

Pafoua Yang is a reporter for Alpha News. She has worked as an on-air reporter for stations across the Twin Cities.