Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) signed legislation Tuesday that has been condemned by the pro-life community as the most extreme abortion measure in the nation, one that creates a “fundamental right” to abortion at any time during pregnancy, and denies parents the right to know if their minor daughter undergoes an abortion.
Walz signed the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act to enshrine in state statute a “fundamental right” to abortion, without any restrictions, and to contraception, sterilization, fertility treatment, and other procedures.
Today, I signed the PRO Act into law.
Your reproductive freedom will stay protected in Minnesota.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) January 31, 2023
I applaud Gov. Walz for signing a bill codifying reproductive rights, including the right to abortion, into Minnesota state law. State and local governments must continue to step up to protect reproductive health care for women everywhere.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) January 31, 2023
Minnesota Democrats, called the “Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party” (DFL), fast-tracked the legislation after securing a one-vote majority in the state Senate in November, handing them control of both chambers of the state legislature.
According to the Associated Press, the DFL gave credit to “the backlash” against the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade for their ability to take control of the state Senate and maintain control of the House while Republicans were expecting a “red wave.”
BREAKING: Governor Walz just signed the PRO Act into law, which will defend abortion access in Minnesota. This is a tremendous victory for freedom and bodily autonomy.
DFL Party leaders are delivering on the promises we made to voters.https://t.co/o1t4O75njZ
— Minnesota DFL Party (@MinnesotaDFL) January 31, 2023
The “backlash” was expressed in extreme violence and destruction by pro-abortion activists toward pro-life pregnancy care centers and churches throughout the country.
When Democrats in the U.S. House opposed a resolution in mid-January to condemn violence against crisis pregnancy centers and churches, Bill Donohue, president of The Catholic League, noted:
These are the same people who routinely condemn the January 6 riot—where the only person who died that day was an unarmed female veteran protester—but never condemn the widespread violence committed by Black Lives Matter demonstrators and Antifa terrorists.
“The fact is that scores of crisis pregnancy centers and churches have been blown up and desecrated in the run-up to, and following, the Dobbs decision that returned the issue of abortion to the states,” Donohue added. “No such violence has devastated abortion clinics. Indeed, what the pro-abortion side labels as ‘violence’ against clinics includes “anti-abortion protesters congregated outside abortion clinics. That’s what most Americans call free speech.”
“The message that we’re sending to Minnesota today is very clear,” Walz said. “Your rights are protected in this state.”
“To Minnesotans, know that your access to reproductive health, and your right to make your own health care decisions, are preserved and protected,” Walz added. “And because of this law, that won’t change with the political winds and the makeup of the Supreme Court.”
According to a KSTP/SurveyUSA poll published in May, however, only 30 percent of Minnesotans said abortion should always be legally permitted, while 25 percent said abortion should be permitted with some limitations, 26 percent said it should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, and 12 percent said it should always be illegal.
Minnesota House Republicans observed Walz expressed a less extreme view of unrestricted abortion when he was running for re-election last year.
“Just 6 months ago, when appealing to Minnesotans for a second term, Gov. Walz said he does *not* support abortion up to the moment of birth,” the state House GOP noted. “And yet, today, he signs the PRO Act into law which allows precisely that.”
“Minnesota will be a safe place for reproductive freedom, now and into the future,” said state Senator Kari Dziedzic, the Democrat majority leader.
After 15 hours of debate in the state Senate, Republican attempts to add guardrails and restrictions to the measure failed, including bans on third-trimester abortions, partial-birth abortions, abortions sought due to the sex of the baby, and sterilization for minors.
Planned Parenthood celebrated the signing of the legislation.
“The PRO Act solidifies Minnesotans’ human rights into state law and is an insurance policy that our rights won’t be taken away by politicians or judges,” Dr. Sarah Traxler, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood North Central States, told Fox News.
“All I want, and doctors across Minnesota want, is to provide the best care we can to our patients,” she said. “And by passing the PRO Act into state law, the Minnesota Legislature will allow us to do just that.”
Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life (MCCL), however, denounced the measure, noting its extremity.
“The PRO Act means a right to abort any baby for any reason at any time up to birth,” said MCCL Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. “It means that the elective killing of a human being in utero is perfectly legal even in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the child can feel excruciating pain and could live outside the womb. It means that parents have no right to know when their teenage daughter has been taken to undergo an abortion.”
Blaeser observed Walz’s “absolutist abortion policy” actually places Minnesota “in the company of just a small handful of countries around the world, including North Korea and China.”
“It is extreme, inhumane, and harmful to women and children who deserve so much better,” she said.
Democrats plan to move ahead with further pro-abortion measures, including one that would remove from the books a 24-hour waiting period prior to having the procedure, another to provide legal protections to patients and abortionists from other states where abortion is illegal, and yet another that would repeal a law protecting newborns who survive abortion.
“We’re now at the signing of a landmark reproductive freedom bill less than one month after taking our oaths of office,” boasted Walz. “And after last year’s landmark election across this country, we’re the first state to take legislative action to put these protections in place.”
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