Attorney General Ellison: No one will be prosecuted in Minnesota for a legal abortion
AG also issues guidance to providers of abortion in Minnesota about their rights
June 22, 2022
June 21, 2022 (SAINT PAUL) — In anticipation of the forthcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which the court is expected to overturn its own 1973 precedent in Roe v. Wade, Minnesota Attorney General Ellison today reassured Minnesotans and the people of every state that no one will be prosecuted in Minnesota for seeking, helping someone else seek, or providing an abortion that is legal in Minnesota. He also assured people that no one from Minnesota or any state will be prosecuted in Minnesota for having a miscarriage, as has been criminally charged in Texas.
Minnesotans’ rights to abortion are secure under the 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court precedent in Doe v. Gomez, which found a broader and more expansive right to abortion in the Minnesota constitution than the U.S. Supreme Court found in its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
“Regardless of how the Court decides Dobbs, Gomez will remain the law of the land in Minnesota. That’s not changing, and Minnesotans can count on it. I will uphold Gomez and will fight all challenges to it,” Attorney General Ellison said.
However, many states — including ones neighboring Minnesota — have either already enacted bans on abortion that would have been unconstitutional under Roe or have bans poised to go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe. Some of those states also have attempted to criminalize travel across state lines to receive, help someone receive, or provide an abortion — even to states like Minnesota where abortion remains legal, and despite the constitutionally-protected right of all Americans to travel across state lines.
In the wake of these developments, Attorney General Ellison said, “As Minnesota's chief legal officer and the chief protector of people’s rights in Minnesota, I am advising all people — whether from Minnesota or any other state — that regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs:
• “No one who travels from another state to seek an abortion that’s legal in Minnesota will be prosecuted.
• “No one from another state who has a miscarriage while in Minnesota will be prosecuted.
• “No one helping someone else travel from another state to seek an abortion that’s legal in Minnesota will be prosecuted.
• “No provider who travels from another state to provide an abortion that’s legal in Minnesota will be prosecuted.
• “I will directly intervene to stop any such prosecution in Minnesota.
• “I will oppose extradition requests from other states for people who’ve engaged in legal conduct in Minnesota.”
In addition, Attorney General Ellison today released the first installment in a series of guidance to Minnesotans called “Know Your Rights to Abortion and Reproductive Healthcare in Minnesota,” available on the Attorney General’s website. The guidance released today is for providers of abortion care in Minnesota, as follows:
• Minn. Stat. § 145.4242 requires physicians or referring physicians to provide patients with specific information 24 hours before performing an abortion. However, those disclosures are not required in medical emergencies or in care provided in the course of managing a miscarriage. In addition, the 24-hour delay does not apply to medical emergencies or miscarriage management.
• For all other abortion procedures, the physician or referring physician is only obligated to inform the patient about the “medically accurate” risks associated with the procedure. If, in the physician’s judgment, the procedure does not lead to risks of breast cancer, danger to subsequent pregnancies, or infertility, the physician or referring physician is not required to discuss those items.
• Although Minn. Stat. § 145.412 imposes criminal penalties for performing an abortion in specific limited circumstances, no abortion provider in Minnesota has ever been convicted of a violation under this law based on conduct within the scope of their medical practice.
Attorney General Ellison’s office will release more guidance once Dobbs is decided.