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In Victory for Abortion Rights, Minnesota Appeals Court Denies Anti-Abortion Group’s Request to Relitigate Historic Decision Ending Restrictions on Abortion Care

02.12.2024 — (PRESS RELEASE)  Today the Minnesota Court of Appeals denied an anti-abortion activist group’s request to intervene in the lawsuit known as Doe v. Minnesota, affirming a district court’s order denying their effort to relitigate the case after the same court struck down many of Minnesota’s restrictions on abortion care as unconstitutional in July 2022.

Said Tanya Pellegrini, Senior Counsel at the Lawyering Project:

“Today’s ruling ensures Minnesota can continue to serve as a safe place for pregnant people to access abortion care.  When someone needs to end their pregnancy, they deserve compassion and respect, not political meddling by anti-abortion politicians and special interest groups.  We are pleased the court did not further delay this case and will continue to stand with our partners in Minnesota in the fight for abortion access.”  

Said Jess Braverman, Legal Director for Gender Justice:

“The continued efforts of anti-abortion groups to reverse this historic decision protecting reproductive freedom in Minnesota are an ongoing threat to the health and well-being of Minnesotans whose rights and freedoms are at stake. We are glad that the Court of Appeals’ decision to deny this intervention request as untimely brings us one step closer to the end of this litigation, and that Minnesotans’ constitutional rights regarding abortion care remain strongly protected.”

Doe v. Minnesota was filed in May 2019 in the Second Judicial District in Ramsey County. Plaintiffs Our Justice and two health care providers argued Minnesota abortion restrictions — including a ban on qualified advanced-practice clinicians providing abortion care, a 24-hour mandatory delay and a requirement that young people notify both parents before they can receive abortion care, even if they are estranged — harmed their patients and clients. They are represented by the Lawyering Project and Gender Justice.

In July 2022, the Minnesota district court overseeing the case held that the Minnesota Constitution protects not just a fundamental right to choose abortion, but also a fundamental right to access abortion care. The court ruled several Minnesota abortion restrictions unconstitutional and permanently blocked their enforcement, including:

  • A ban on qualified advance-practice clinicians providing abortion care;
  • A requirement forcing patients to delay their abortion care by at least 24 hours after consulting with a healthcare provider;
  • A requirement that young people notify both parents before they can receive abortion care;
  • A requirement forcing abortion providers to give irrelevant and misleading information to their patients;
  • A ban on the provision of second-trimester abortion care outside of hospitals; and
  • Regulations that subject abortion providers to felony criminal penalties for minor regulatory infractions.

Following the decision, the Minnesota Legislature repealed many of the state’s anti-abortion laws during its 2023 legislative session, including most of the laws challenged by Doe v. Minnesota.