This is part three of a five-part series from MPR News examining the state of abortion in Minnesota one year after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
The Supreme Court’s decision last June to strike down Roe v. Wade triggered immediate abortion restrictions in many states. It also galvanized voters in Minnesota and other states to elect lawmakers ready to guarantee abortion rights.
A year later, the legal landscape continues to shift. Here’s where things stand currently with Minnesota and states across the Midwest.
Post-Roe, Minnesota has rewritten many of its laws around abortion.
Grow the Future of Public Media
MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!
On Jan. 31, Gov. Tim Walz signed H.F. 1, guaranteeing the right to abortion and other reproductive health care options. In April, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill later signed by Walz preventing Minnesota courts or officials from complying with extraditions, arrests or subpoenas related to reproductive health, including abortion.
Toward the end of the session, lawmakers passed bills that limited reporting requirements and expanded situations where medical assistance could be used to cover abortion services, among other things.
While the end of Roe v. Wade drove the expansion of abortion rights in Minnesota, the groundwork for some of those changes was also laid in July 2022 when Ramsey County Judge Thomas Gilligan ordered state officials to stop enforcing some Minnesota abortion restrictions, including the informed consent law and the two-parent notification law, saying they violate the state constitutional right to privacy.
He also struck down felony penalties for abortion providers who run afoul of state regulations, as well as laws that require providers to inform pregnant people of the procedure's "particular medical risks" and the 24-hour waiting period.
In Minnesota, roughly 90 percent of all abortions in 2021 occurred in the first 12 weeks after conception, according to the most recent data from the Minnesota Department of Health, One abortion was reported after 25 weeks. Half of the clinics in Minnesota only provide abortions through the first trimester. Only one will provide abortions through 23 weeks and there are no clinics here that provide abortions after 23 weeks and 5 days.
Of 10,136 abortions performed in the state in 2021, more than 1,000 were reported to involve people from out of state: 56 from Iowa, 20 from Michigan, 84 from North Dakota, 158 from South Dakota, 634 from Wisconsin and 57 from other states.
In April 2023, Gov. Doug Burgum signed into law a proposal banning almost all abortions. The only exceptions are for cases of rape or incest, and where the pregnant person terminates the pregnancy in the first six weeks. The fuller ban is on hold as the North Dakota Supreme Court weighs a prior effort to make abortion unconstitutional in the state.
In 2005, South Dakota lawmakers passed two pieces of legislation that created a trigger law to ban abortion if the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade. On June 24, 2022, they went into effect, making abortion a felony with two years in prison and a $4,000 fine. The only exception is in cases where an abortion is deemed necessary to save the life of the pregnant person. There is no exception for rape or incest. Abortion rights organizations are gathering signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the 2024 ballot to restore access to abortion in the state.
When Roe v. Wade was overturned, a ban from 1849 went into effect. The law has no exceptions for rape or incest. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul filed suit in 2022 to block the ban and reinstate a law from 1985 which allowed abortion up until roughly 20 weeks or when "fetal viability" is determined. That lawsuit is still pending.
In 2018, the Iowa legislature passed a bill that would limit abortions to six weeks. That law was ruled unconstitutional by a district court in 2019. After Roe was overturned, Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds attempted to resurrect this more restrictive ban, but it was again blocked by a district court. It's currently before the Iowa Supreme Court.
After Roe was overturned, a 1931 law banning abortion went into effect in Michigan. During the 2022 midterm election, Michigan voters in a referendum agreed to enshrine abortion and contraceptive rights into the state constitution. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed the 1931 law on April 5. Abortion is legally roughly until 24-26 weeks, or “fetal viability.” There is a 24-hour waiting period, and if a person is under 18, a parent or guardian must give permission.
Nebraska Gov. Tim Pillen signed into law a 12-week abortion ban on May 22. There is a 24-hour waiting period, and if a person is under 18, a parent or guardian must give permission. Attorneys for Planned Parenthood have since sued over the law, saying it violates the state Constitution. That case is set to be heard in July.
After Roe was overturned, abortion remained legal in Illinois. At the beginning of the 2023 legislative session, Illinois lawmakers approved a measure protecting out-of-state abortion seekers and expanding access to reproductive health care. Abortion is available in Illinois up to about 24-26 weeks, or when "fetal viability" is determined. There is no 24-hour waiting period, and parent or guardian consent is not required.