Gov. Tim Walz (D) on Tuesday signed the Protect Reproductive Options Act, or “PRO Act,” into law, making Minnesota the first state to guarantee the right to abortion following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The Minnesota Senate had passed the PRO Act on Saturday following 14 hours of debate. Since abortion is already legal in the state due to a 1995 state Supreme Court ruling, the law will not have a major impact on Minnesotans’ current access to abortion.
However, it will make it harder for lawmakers to attempt to restrict abortion access in the future.
In both legislative chambers, all Republicans voted against the PRO Act. Along with anti-abortion groups, they have called the law extreme and overreaching, due to its lack of restrictions on abortion.
Democrats countered that the law takes politicians out of decisions that should be made by patients, their families and their physicians.
Since the Dobbs ruling on June 24, when the Supreme Court overturned the Constitutional right to abortion established back in 1973 by Roe v Wade, nearly half of all U.S. states have passed near-total bans on abortion with very limited exceptions or banned the procedure early in pregnancy.
In New Mexico, a state where abortion is legal, several conservative cities have declared themselves “sanctuaries for the unborn” and restricted access to abortion clinics and abortion pills within their geographical boundaries.
New Mexico’s Attorney General filed an extraordinary writ in the state’s Supreme Court to block these cities’ abortion bans, and courts have blocked some states’ bans from taking effect, as well, the result of which has created a chaotic landscape for abortion providers and for people who would seek their services.
On Tuesday, Gov. Walz of Minnesota said, “We’re sending a message today that’s very clear: Your rights are respected in this state.” He added, “You make your final decisions about your health, your family and your life.”
Minnesota’s abortion law took effect immediately.