Walz signs legislation codifying reproductive health care rights

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has officially signed legislation to codify reproductive health care rights into Minnesota law.

The governor signed the “Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act” at a ceremony Tuesday afternoon. CLICK HERE to read the legislation.

Republicans called on Walz to veto the PRO Act, saying he said he didn’t support late-term abortions on the 2022 campaign trail so he should block the bill.

This comes after the bill underwent 15 hours of debate in the state senate on Friday. As previously reported, it eventually passed by a vote of 34-33 as supporters and opponents rallied outside.

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.

“We are acting in the most extreme bill in the country regarding sterilization, late term abortions, a public liability for vast array of new reproductive rights,” said Minnesota Republican Senator Mark Johnson, the Senate’s minority leader.

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Supporters of the bill have said it’s about more than just abortion and is a fundamental right.

“Third trimester abortion is incredibly rare, it is almost always within circumstances that are very tragic and that these are nuanced and complex medical situations that require decision making between a patient and their care provider,” said Dr. Sarah Traxler, the chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood North Central States.

“We do now here in session have a duty to answer the call of Minnesotans to truly protect those reproductive freedoms to enshrine them, not simply in case law, but also in our statutory law,” said Minnesota DFL Senator Jennifer McEwen.

Others say it is too extreme.

“We hope that even the democratic members of the senate will agree that this is an extreme bill allowing abortion up through nine months,” said Giovanni Mowrey, of Students for Life Action.

The legislation passed the Minnesota House earlier in the month by a vote of 69-65 after close to four hours of debate. As previously reported, all but one Democrat, Rep. Gene Pelowski Jr. of Winona, voted in favor, while all Republicans voted against it.

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