Senate Democrats send abortion on demand bill to Walz’s desk 

A total of 65 Republican amendments to the bill were rejected.

Sen. Jennifer McEwen (D-Duluth) debates an amendment with Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) during a discussion of the PRO Act. (Minnesota Senate Media)

The Minnesota Senate passed a bill to codify abortion access through all nine months of pregnancy in a 34-33 vote early Saturday morning after a 15-hour marathon floor session that saw Republicans introduce more than 60 amendments.

The bill now heads to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk where it is guaranteed to be signed.

“Here in Minnesota, we trust people to make their own decisions about their bodies. I’m ready to sign the PRO Act and codify reproductive rights into law,” the governor said.

The Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act will place into state law a “fundamental right” to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, via any method and for any reason, with no age restrictions.

It protects the right of “every individual,” including minors, to access “reproductive health care” services, including abortion, contraception and sterilization.

“It’s abortion on demand for all. Let’s not mince words. That’s what it is,” said Republican Sen. Jim Abeler.

With a 34-33 split in the Senate, there was some hope among Republicans that a swing-district Democrat would join them in opposing the bill. Pro-life groups were specifically targeting Democratic Sens. Aric Putnam, Grant Hauschild, Judy Seeberger, and Rob Kupec. In the end, they all voted in opposition to every GOP amendment and in favor of the bill.

A total of 65 Republican amendments to the bill were rejected, some for procedural reasons but most in roll-call votes.

Some of them would have:

  • Allowed mothers to provide anesthesia to a baby at the point in development when they can experience pain
  • Prevented sterilization of minors when there is evidence of sex trafficking
  • Clarified that reproductive health care does not include contracting a gestational surrogate
  • Prohibited elective abortions after 21 weeks
  • Prohibited elective abortions after 25 weeks
  • Prohibited elective abortions after 32 weeks
  • Prohibited elective abortions after 36 weeks
  • Prohibited abortions when a woman is in active labor
  • Prohibited partial-birth abortions
  • Prohibited abortions based on race
  • Prohibited abortions based on sex
  • Prohibited abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis
  • Prohibited abortions based on a multiple gestation pregnancy
  • Prohibited saline abortions
  • Prohibited dilation and evacuation abortions
  • Required licensure of abortion facilities
  • Prohibited abortions from being performed in a mobile clinic van
  • Prohibited sterilization for people under the age of 14
  • Clarified that the bill doesn’t protect sex-reassignment surgery for people under 18
  • Required parental consent for abortions and sterilizations for people under 18
  • Prohibited abortions from being performed in unsafe or unsanitary conditions
  • Prohibited abortions from being performed on minors without parental notification
  • Extended conscientious objection protections to pharmacists
  • Prohibited state funds from being used for abortion patients from out of state
  • Prohibited the sale or purchase of fetal body parts from an unborn child as a result of an abortion

Democrats argued that the GOP amendments were proposing hypotheticals that never actually happen or are already addressed in the medical field’s standards of care.

If that’s the case, then it wouldn’t be an issue to adopt the amendments, Republicans responded.

“Pregnant people are the guardrails. Medical providers are the guardrails,” Democrat Sen. Lindsey Port said in response to some of the amendments.

Other amendments were called an “insult” to “pregnant people” and doctors.

“This is not a thing. People don’t go in for abortion at 36 weeks of pregnancy,” Port claimed.

Republican Sen. Zach Duckworth said the bill will strike a blow to bipartisanship, calling it “the most polarizing and divisive piece of legislation I’ve ever seen.”

“Almost every country allows abortion for the health of the mother, rape, incest, among other reasons. When it comes to elective abortions, they place guardrails. Sweden limits elective abortions after 18 weeks; France after 16 weeks; Germany after 14 weeks; Norway, Ireland, and Switzerland after 12 weeks. China has no limits. The bill in front of us this morning has more in common with the totalitarian regime of communist China than other western democracies,” said Republican Sen. Eric Pratt.

Republican Sen. Steve Drazkowski called the bill something that “Minnesotans never asked for.”

“Back during the election, Democrats, outspending Republicans seven to one, brought forward a massive message, making rapid assertions that Republicans were somehow going to ban abortion in Minnesota. They scared Minnesotans into electing them and sending them to the Minnesota Legislature. A lie that it was then, a lie that it is today. The bait and switch of the people of Minnesota took place,” he said.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser said the lack of “parental involvement” in the bill “allows the most heinous of criminals — human and sex traffickers — to hide behind the doors of the unlicensed, uninspected abortion facility.”

“These traffickers are happily watching this legislature advance extreme, unfettered abortion bills that enable them to continue to traffic their victims,” she said.

Democrat Sen. Jen McEwen, lead author of the bill, said the legislation will “save lives” and make Minnesota a “refuge for people throughout the Midwest seeking health care that they need and can’t get in their home states.”

“This is going to be a historical moment for our state, where Minnesota leads, where we lead the nation, where we show our values and our ethics and stand strong in defense of liberty and reproductive freedom for all people,” she said, calling the GOP’s amendments “desperate attempts” to say they “know better” than Minnesotans.

“If there was any evidence for why we need the PRO Act in Minnesota, it is the debate that we have been through today,” she added. She urged her colleagues to “take pride and joy in the fact that we can be this beacon of hope.”


Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.