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Victory: Court Denies Senate’s Politically Motivated Request to Join Legal Challenge to Minnesota Abortion Restrictions

Jennifer R Miller | The Lawyering Project |
Megumi Rierson |Gender Justice | Megumi Rierson |

11.02.20—Earlier today a state district court judge denied a politically motivated request by the Minnesota State Senate to intervene in Doe v Minnesota to defend a host of Minnesota’s unconstitutional abortion restrictions. The Senate’s request only reflected the will of seven Republican Senators as the full Senate was not involved in the decision to intervene.

The court specifically noted that the Senate had to resort to “conjecture and conspiracy” to further their claim that defense of the challenge laws has been “in any way inadequate” while also noting concern that allowing the Senate to intervene would “reprise the political debate over the challenged laws, rather than…whether they are constitutional.”

Both Plaintiffs and Defendants opposed the motion to intervene.

“Pregnant people need compassionate, high-quality care when they need abortion services, not last-minute political grandstanding from a small group of anti-abortion Senators” said Rev. Kelli Clement, Social Justice Minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. “We are pleased the court saw this request for what it was: a last-ditch effort to derail this lawsuit with gross mischaracterizations of the facts and the law.”

“Instead of wasting taxpayers’ time and money during a pandemic in a brazen attempt to delay this lawsuit, Senators should be working to ensure everyone can get the health care they need,” said Shayla Walker, Vision Realization Advisor for Our Justice. “Instead, these Senators have chosen to lodge outlandish and defamatory allegations against plaintiffs and our attorneys. That’s simply unacceptable and we are pleased with today’s ruling.”

Doe v Minnesota was filed in May 2019 in the Second Judicial District. Plaintiffs Our Justice, the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, and two health care providers argue Minnesota abortion restrictions harm their patients, clients, and congregants. They are represented by the Lawyering Project and Gender Justice. A few months after the suit was filed, Minnesota asked a state district court to dismiss the suit, a request which was denied in June 2020 after oral argument in October 2019.

This is not the first time there has been a politically motivated request to join this case. In January, the same state district court denied a request by Pro-Life Action Ministries and Association for Government Accountability to deffend the challenged laws. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed this ruling in October.