The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Reproductive Freedom defense act Monday evening, with the DFL making good on its promise to enshrine reproductive rights into law.
The bill protects both people seeking abortions and medical professionals carrying out the procedures in Minnesota from laws in other states.
“[This bill ensures] that pregnant people can get the healthcare they deserve, it's also working to ensure physicians and healthcare providers who provide abortion care do not feel as if they are unable to provide that care,” the bill’s author Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL) said.“We’ve heard stories from around the country where people who want their children, but have a miscarriage, and are told they have to wait until they are incredibly sick before they can have that taken care of in a simple procedure.”
HF 366 seeks to limit the release of records to states that seek to persecute abortion seekers and providers. Furthermore, the bill provides the ability for people being taken to court for anti-abortion laws like Texas’s SB8 law to seek damages in return. SB8 deputizes private citizens to sue both people who have received an abortion and those who assisted that person for up to $10,000, even in other states.
Rep. Peggy Scott (R) said the bill was “troubling” and “dangerous,” calling Minnesota a “sanctuary state” for abortions, and that the law is a method for people outside the state to break other states' laws. The bill only protects reproductive actions taken in Minnesota.
Republicans also questioned the measures taken to provide licenses to abortion providers in Minnesota if they are targeted in out-of-state anti-abortion lawsuits, saying that giving licenses to people charged with felony crimes sets a dangerous precedent. Rep. Agbaje rebuked that point, saying that the law only licenses people that are charged with providing abortion care in states where it is outlawed.
“Not all laws are good laws,” Rep. Athena Hawlins (DFL) said. “Abortion is healthcare, and people deserve that healthcare. It’s a Minnesota value to provide that healthcare and take care of people.”
The bill passed 68-62, and will be introduced to the Senate in the upcoming weeks.