PRO Act now law — What’s next for reproductive care in MN?

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With Minnesota’s new law codifying access to reproductive healthcare, opponents to PRO Act fear it’s too extreme.

Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz signed the “Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act” at one of his most attended bill signings as governor.

The bill puts the right to have an abortion without restrictions into state law. It also protects sterilization, family planning, contraceptives and maternity care. Some state Republicans tried to make amendments that failed, including an abortion ban in the third trimester.

“This piece of legislation, now law, is extreme,” Brian Gibson, executive director of Pro-Life Action Ministries said.

“It’s not a good day for the people of Minnesota,” Gibson added following the bill signing.

The anti-abortion organization mostly works outside of reproductive health clinics, where their ‘side walk counselors’ try to speak to people seeking care, with the hopes of convincing them to not go through with any procedure.

Despite the new law, Gibson said their work will continue.

“We’ll continue to be present to offer that hope and that help in every way that we can,” he said.

A main opposition to the PRO Act is that it does not restrict when an abortion can be provided — including durng the third trimester. But, according to state data, that’s not common and typically done when the mother’s physical health is at risk.

As for what kind of impact this will have at healthcare facilities that offer abortions, attorney and former 30-year general counsel for the Minnesota Hospital Association, David Feinwachs feels “not much.”

“I don’t think it’s going to have much of an impact at all, because our Supreme Court ruled some time ago that abortion is protected and is a right in Minnesota,” Feinwachs said.

Most clinics in Minnesota will perform abortions up to the 12-17 week point in a pregnancy — some as high as the 23 week point.

“If we have a state law that says it can be done, the clinic still has discretion,” Feinwachs said, adding: “If the statute says it must be done, I would imagine there would probably be challenges to that because a number of places won’t do it. And, as I say, most physicians after the second trimester won’t do it.”

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to four healthcare facilities that offer abortions to learn if they plan to change their operations following the passage of the PRO Act. Duluth based, We Health Clinic responded, in part, with the following:

At this time we have no plans to change our services following the signing of the PRO Act. We will continue, as we have for over 40 years, to provide reproductive health services including abortion. The PRO Act has codified the right to abortion (among other reproductive rights) into Minnesota Law. We are grateful to the legislators and activists who worked tirelessly to pass this bill.

We Health Clinic