A fast-tracked bill that would enshrine a right to abortion into state law could be debated in the Senate as early as this week, following passage of the measure Jan. 19 in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
The Minnesota Catholic Conference is encouraging people to contact their state senators and urge them to “resist the throwaway culture and vote no” on the so-called “Protect Reproductive Options Act” — S.F. 1 and H.F. 1. The chief authors of the legislation are Sen. Jennifer McEwen (DFL-District 8) and Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL-District 49B)
In a letter delivered to legislators, Bishop Donald Kettler and the state’s other Catholic bishops said they were “disappointed to see the quick pace at which these destructive bills are moving, and we hope to give legislators pause. When contemplating policy on any issue, we must consider all those who will be affected. In this case, that includes the mother, father, and most especially, the unborn child whose life is being taken.
“In a post-Dobbs world in which states that allow abortion have the responsibility to both regulate the practice and protect nascent human life, we should be working to find common ground on the challenges before us in Minnesota,” they wrote. “We stand firm that every child should be welcomed in life and protected by law.”
The bishops noted their opposition to other legislative proposals to repeal statutes regulating abortion. They also called for policies that would limit the demand for abortion, encourage family stability and “ensure that parents are supported when necessary due to economic hardship.”
MCC included a link on its website explaining the likely and potential outcomes of S.F. 1/H.F. 1 and information on how to take action: https://www.mncatholic.org/action_18733.
The bill states that “every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about the individual’s own reproductive health” and that the Minnesota Constitution ensures “the fundamental right to reproductive freedom.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last June in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the regulating or restricting of abortions to the states. In 1995, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Doe v. Gomez that abortion was a constitutional right, requiring the state to pay for abortions requested by women who cannot afford them. Proponents of H.F. 1 and S.F. 1 argue the measure is necessary because future state Supreme Court justices could overturn Doe v. Gomez.
Photo: Minnesota State Capitol (Dianne Towalski / The Central Minnesota Catholic)