Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Saturday that he said will offer legal protection to people from out of state who come to Minnesota for reproductive health services.
Since abortion is still legal in Minnesota, even after the Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs case, the state will likely become a destination for people from surrounding states seeking care.
Walz said during a news conference that the order is in response to the Dobbs ruling and laws or potential laws in other states that would allow people to be prosecuted for helping those seeking an abortion.
“An absolutely dystopian thing that needs to be stated is, [the order] states that we will use all legal authority of this office to decline to extradite people who are charged under other states' laws that criminalize providing, seeking, or obtaining reproductive health care services,” Walz said.
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The only exception would be if the acts would also be criminal under Minnesota law.
The order also prohibits Minnesota state agencies from helping other states investigate or prosecute people who seek reproductive health care that's legal in Minnesota, except as required by court order.
Walz was joined at the news conference at the State Capitol by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith. Smith is the only U.S. senator to have worked at Planned Parenthood, which she was the executive vice president for external affairs.
“In that role I saw first hand the capacity of women to make good moral decisions about abortion and yesterday they were sent home,” Smith said. “They were told that it wasn't their decision anymore, because some person who would never know them or their stories had decided that they got to control what happened in that person's life.”
Planned Parenthood North Central States CEO Sarah Stoesz said that abortions are only currently available in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.
South Dakota has already banned abortions; Wisconsin clinics are no longer providing abortions.
In North Dakota, the attorney general is reviewing when the state’s “trigger law,” which bans abortion once Roe v. Wade is overturned, would potentially take effect.