Minnesota lawmakers express uncertainty over TX abortion ruling

MN Reproductive Freedom Caucus at a Pro-Choice Press Conference
MN Reproductive Freedom Caucus at a Pro-Choice Press Conference(Quinn Gorham)
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 5:31 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (GRAY) - Monday, even in the midst of spring recess, Minnesota lawmakers from the state’s Reproductive Freedom Caucus gathered alongside activists to address a Texas court ruling that could impact abortion rights in Minnesota.

“The arm of the anti-abortion movement has reached Minnesota,” said Sen. Lindsey Port (DFL - Burnsville).

On Friday, April 7, a district court judge in Texas ruled to remove the FDA approval status of a drug called mifepristone. The drug is one of the more popular methods of abortion across the U.S. and is widely regarded to be one of the more accessible methods of performing the procedure.

“Friday’s ruling by a Texas judge willing to sacrifice the rule of law to advance the anti-abortion movement’s oppressive agenda has ratcheted the crisis up to a dire new level,” said Megan Peterson, Executive Director of a group called Gender Justice, “with a single decision invalidating the FDA approval of a medication widely used to end first-trimester pregnancies safely, effectively and on patient’s own terms, this judge has reached across state lines and brought the abortion crisis to Minnesota.”

According to Peterson, mifepristone accounts for more than half of all abortion procedures in Minnesota.

“Our neighbors and surrounding states need us to act,” said Sen. Port.

While lawmakers vowed to pass even more legislation, including a bill that would officially take any old abortion laws off the books, they admitted they weren’t sure what might happen if the Texas ruling is upheld. Minnesota Republicans have indicated they don’t intend to comment on the ruling at this time.

“There’s never been a court case that overruled the FDA’s ability to make a decision... we are in uncharted territory for sort of the legal ramifications of it,” Port said.

Port and others expressed concern that a conflicting ruling out of Washington state could send the case to the Supreme Court, where they’re not optimistic about the outcome. They also said they’re unsure whether the drug will still be available, even in Minnesota at the end of the week.

“I don’t think we’re going that far to say that it won’t be available this week. Again, we don’t know how that’s gonna shake out and we really need to hear from FDA,” Peterson said.

The Texas ruling goes into effect on April 14, 2023.