A judge in Minnesota struck down several state laws restricting access to abortions Monday, finding they violated the state's constitution.
In a 140-page ruling, state District Judge Thomas Gilligan of Ramsey County issued a permanent injunction blocking a variety of restrictions, including a 24-hour waiting period and a requirement that only doctors perform the procedure. He said they run afoul of a 1995 state Supreme Court ruling that abortion is protected under the Minnesota Constitution.
Gilligan, who has presided over the case for three years, wrote that "this court concludes that Minnesota abortion laws relating to mandated physician care, hospitalization, criminalization, parental notification, and informed consent are unconstitutional."
He found that the "laws violate the right to privacy because they infringe upon the fundamental right under the Minnesota Constitution to access abortion care and do not withstand strict scrutiny,” adding: “The parental notification law violates the guarantee of equal protection for the same reasons. The informed consent law also violates the right to free speech under the Minnesota Constitution, because it is misleading and confusing, and does not withstand intermediate scrutiny. Accordingly, this court is declaring those laws unconstitutional."
The case dealt with numerous laws enacted in recent decades. The lawsuit and the judge’s ruling are separate from the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Still, the ruling comes as a number of other states have enacted severe restrictions or bans in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on June 24.
Shayla Walker, the executive director of Our Justice, one of the plaintiffs in the Minnesota case, hailed Monday's ruling.
"In light of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, every piece of red tape matters for Minnesotans and people traveling to Minnesota for abortion care. Today’s ruling is an important step toward making abortion accessible to everyone who needs it,” Walker said in a statement.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, a Republican, urged state Attorney General Keith Ellison to appeal the ruling, which he said in a statement "will put lives at risk by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions and second or third trimester abortions to be performed in non-medical settings."
“Republicans will continue to defend common-sense pro-life laws that protect the health and safety of mothers, and work to overturn this reckless decision that puts mothers’ lives at risk,” Daudt added.
Ellison, a Democrat, said in a statement: “My team and I are reviewing the 140-page decision and are beginning to consult with our clients about any next steps. It’s clear Judge Gilligan, who has had this case for three years, has put much thought into this decision that he clearly did not take lightly.”