MN groups respond to Supreme Court overruling Roe

Abortion rights will now be left to the states to decide, allowing some states surrounding Minnesota to ban or restrict abortions.

The+Supreme+Court+building+captured+on+Nov.+21%2C+2019.+Justices+heard+oral+arguments+on+Dec.+1%2C+2021%2C+to+determine+the+continuing+constitutionality+of+Roe+v.+Wade.

Alex Steil

The Supreme Court building captured on Nov. 21, 2019. Justices heard oral arguments on Dec. 1, 2021, to determine the continuing constitutionality of Roe v. Wade.

by Maia Irvin

Planned Parenthood North Central States (PPNCS) plans to expand abortion care in Minnesota and remains committed to providing care. 

In a ruling Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, leaving the right to abortion up to individual states. Some of the states surrounding Minnesota already have abortion bans and restrictions in place, and physicians expect an increased demand for abortion care in Minnesota. 

Both of the Dakotas had trigger laws in place to ban abortion once Roe was overturned. North Dakota’s trigger law will go into effect within 30 days. South Dakota’s trigger law has already gone into effect, and abortion is no longer legal in the state. 

PPNCS does not operate a clinic in North Dakota and while clinic doors in South Dakota remain open, PPNCS provided its last abortion in South Dakota last week, PPNCS President Sarah Stoesz said at a press conference Friday. 

Wisconsin’s abortion law from 1849, which bans abortions, went into effect once Roe was overturned. 

“We remain committed to providing other forms of sexual and repductive health care, family planning, birth control, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, gender affirming hormone therapy and so on,” Stoesz said. 

Abortion remains legal in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. Minnesota is the only state that has constitutional protections for abortion though. 

PPNCS has been working for the past several months to increase access to abortion care in states that continue to have legal abortion access, Dr. Sarah Traxler, PPNCS chief medical officer, said at the press conference. The organization has increased capacity at telemedicine sites, hired more patient navigators and recruited new positions in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota to meet increased demand. 

While PPNCS has not added to the number of clinics in Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa, it has increased the number of days and providers at each clinic, Traxler said. The organization is looking for potential places to expand. 

“We believe we’ll have an influx of patients in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota,” Traxler said. 

Expanding clinics and hours in certain states is only half of the equation though because patients need resources to travel to another state and pay for procedures, Traxler said. 

“We imagine that folks who are living in communities that are struggling and are already marginalized will have even more difficulty accessing abortion care,” Traxler said. “We know that people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals and people living in rural communities will be disproportionately impacted by this ruling.” 

PPNCS will continue to provide contraceptive services at all of its clinics, but the future of contraceptives and whether they continue to be available or will be regulated remains uncertain, Stoesz said.

“We are concerned about it,” Stoesz said.

Stoesz said PPNCS is not going anywhere and will continue to provide sexual and reproductive care in the region. 

“I do want to be absolutely crystal clear that our doors remain open,” Stoesz said. “And we will be welcoming people here in Minnesota to have the health care that they need to save their lives.” 

Other organizations also released statements Friday after the Supreme Court decision. 

UnRestrict Minnesota and the Reproductive Freedom Caucus announced Minnesota Beyond Roe: The Leadership Agenda for Abortion Access. The agenda focuses on repealing restrictions on abortion care in Minnesota, protecting patients and providers from post-Roe attacks and ensuring equitable access to abortion care. 

“There is important work we must do now to rise to the challenges we now face and the opportunity inherent in this moment,” Abena Abraham, campaign director for UnRestrict Minnesota, said in the statement. 

Gender Justice also issued a statement supporting abortion rights in Minnesota. 

“Now that the Supreme Court has cleared the way for more abortion bans, we must improve our laws in Minnesota to support everyone’s right to make decisions about their own bodies,” Megan Peterson, executive director of Gender Justice, said in the statement.

Minnesota Physicians, including the Minnesota Medical Association and the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, stated they are committed to providing safe and equitable health care. 

“The overturn of Roe represents a clear and present danger to women’s health and lives in this country,” Stoesz said. “Nothing will be the same for many, many years to come.”