Know your rights to abortion and reproductive healthcare in Minnesota
In its 1995 decision in Doe v. Gomez, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that the Minnesota Constitution guarantees the right of every Minnesotan to terminate a pregnancy. The Court explicitly found that the Minnesota Constitution offers broader protection than the United States Constitution of a person’s fundamental right to make reproductive healthcare choices without state interference. This remains the case despite the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. Minnesotans' rights continue to be protected.
Attorney General Ellison's office continues to issue guidance to Minnesotans about their rights to the reproductive healthcare of their choice, including abortion.
Consumer Alert: Crisis Pregnancy Centers
If you are pregnant and seeking to learn about or discuss your healthcare options, you should consult with a licensed reproductive healthcare provider.
Many so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) may pose as reproductive healthcare clinics despite not providing comprehensive reproductive healthcare to consumers. Indeed, some CPCs do not provide any healthcare services at all. CPCs are private organizations that attempt to prevent or dissuade pregnant people from accessing their constitutionally protected right under the Minnesota Constitution to a safe and legal abortion.
For example, a recent comprehensive study of the CPC industry found that in Minnesota:
- CPCs outnumber abortion clinics by an 11:1 ratio and do not counsel or provide accurate information about available abortion services.
- More than 90% of CPCs do not have a licensed physician on staff.
- 80% of CPCs do not have a registered nurse on staff.
- Not a single CPC offers contraception.
- More than 95% of CPCs do not provide prenatal or wellness care to pregnant consumers, and a majority do not even provide prenatal referrals.
- Nearly half of CPCs provide a form of ultrasound—called a “non-diagnostic ultrasound”—that serves no medical purpose or benefit and may be performed by unlicensed and/or untrained persons. These “non-diagnostic” ultrasounds may give pregnant consumers confusing or inaccurate information about their fetus or a false sense of security about the health of their pregnancy, which may affect consumers’ decision-making.
- 29% of CPCs promote an “abortion pill reversal” practice that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has called “unethical” and “not based on science.”
- CPCs may often make misleading and exaggerated claims about the health risks associated with obtaining an abortion.
Patients seeking information about their reproductive healthcare options, including abortion-related care, should do their homework before scheduling an appointment with a clinic, center, or provider:
- Look at the clinic, center, or provider’s website and online reviews before making an appointment.
- Ask whether the clinic or center employs licensed healthcare professionals and look up the status and disciplinary history of such professionals’ licenses. You may want to consider asking for proof of licensure.
- Ask about the scope of the reproductive healthcare services the clinic, center, or provider provides, including whether they provide services or information about abortions, abortion referrals, prenatal care, prenatal referrals, or contraception.
When you arrive for your appointment, make sure you are in the right place. Many CPCs are located near clinics that provide abortion services and may intentionally use names that are similar to nearby medical clinics.
If you have information or concerns about any CPC that may be providing deceptive or inaccurate information, you should contact the Minnesota Attorney General at:
(651) 296-3353 (Twin Cities Calling Area)
(800) 657-3787 (Outside the Twin Cities)
(800) 627-3529 (Minnesota Relay)
Guidance for providers of abortion and reproductive healthcare
- Minn. Stat. § 145.4242 requires physicians or referring physicians to provide patients with specific information 24 hours before performing an abortion. However, those disclosures are not required in medical emergencies or in care provided in the course of managing a miscarriage. In addition, the 24-hour delay does not apply to medical emergencies or miscarriage management.
- For all other abortion procedures, the physician or referring physician is only obligated to inform the patient about the “medically accurate” risks associated with the procedure. If, in the physician’s judgment, the procedure does not lead to risks of breast cancer, danger to subsequent pregnancies, or infertility, the physician or referring physician is not required to discuss those items.
- Although Minn. Stat. § 145.412 imposes criminal penalties for performing an abortion in specific limited circumstances, no abortion provider in Minnesota has ever been convicted of a violation under this law based on conduct within the scope of their medical practice.