Gov. Walz signs abortion shield law
ST. PAUL (KVRR) — Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signs a bill into law shielding people who travel from out of state for an abortion.
Supporters of Minnesota’s abortion shield law say it’s designed to stop courts, law enforcement and health care providers from cooperating with law enforcement outside of the state.
“We’re giving basic rights to every single Minnesotan, rights to make the decisions about their own body that they feel is best for them, rights that are based on what their best advice they’re getting from their medical providers,” Walz said.
They say they’re worried about a Texas-style law that allows individuals to sue anyone who gets an abortion or aids a patient.
“All of these protections focus on the seeking out or giving of reproductive healthcare which is legal in Minnesota. Should another state say, ‘You came to Minnesota and you stayed for a while,’ and another state wanted to bring you back, they wouldn’t really be able to do that,” said Democratic Rep. Esther Agbaje of Minneapolis.
Critics say they don’t want people to resort to a procedure in order to be content in life.
“Our goal is still, and with this acknowledgement of this shield law that has been signed in Minnesota, we want to make sure that folks feel supported and recognized in their struggles. We don’t want people to result to abortion to live a fulfilled and happy life. That should never be the option,” said Sierra Heitkamp, the Legislative Director of ND Right to Life.
They add the next step is getting those who are thinking about getting an abortion to reconsider.
“Abortion is really an issue of the heart and mind of individuals. Individuals, nonprofits, churches, different entities are going to have to step up to the plate and make any strides that we can to win over people’s hearts,” said Republican Rep. Peggy Scott of Andover.
Across the country, questions are lingering about the legal weeds of those traveling to other states for an abortion despite protection from consequences.
“We saw in the Dobbs concurrence with Kavanaugh, he put in there that this may be a problem for interstate travel and commerce depending on how states have different laws regarding abortion,” Agbaje said.
Minnesota’s shield law is in direct contrast to North Dakota’s rhetoric towards abortion where one could be charged with a Class C felony with no exceptions for rape or incest after six weeks of pregnancy.
North Dakota’s law does allow the procedure if the mother’s health or life is in danger.
Walz also signed bills enshrining gender-affirming care into law and banning conversion therapy.