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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says state should let stand ruling blocking abortion restrictions

Walz said he agreed with a district court judge's ruling that deemed several laws unconstitutional and said the attorney general should not appeal it.

Gov. Tim Walz - abortion rights
Gov. Tim Walz on Sunday, July 17, 2022, speaks to thousands of demonstrators who marched to the Minnesota Capitol to support legal abortion access.
Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service
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ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz on Monday, July 18, said he doesn't think a district court ruling overturning several state restrictions on abortion needs to be appealed.

Walz at an unrelated event on Monday said he thought a St. Paul district court judge's ruling that deemed several state laws unconstitutional was thorough and recommended that Attorney General Keith Ellison allow it to stand.

"I think it's pretty clear and well thought out," Walz said of the court's decision. "Our team has looked at it and spent a lot of time over the weekend talking with them about it but I don't think it needs to be (appealed)."

The comments were Walz's first on the subject since Ramsey County Judge Thomas A. Gilligan Jr. last week said that multiple state laws dealing with abortion violated rights to privacy and to an abortion under the Minnesota Constitution. Gilligan Jr. blocked laws that require a 24-hour waiting period for an abortion, mandate that only physicians be allowed to perform an abortion and ask that minors seeking an abortion receive consent from both parents or from a court.

A Ramsey County judge ruled many of Minnesota’s abortion regulations violate the state constitution, including a 24-hour wait period and a requirement minors notify both parents before getting an abortion.

Pro-abortion access groups applauded the decision as a positive step for affirming Minnesotans' rights, while anti-abortion groups said it reversed bipartisan policy that benefited pregnant individuals.

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The state has 60 days following the ruling to decide whether to appeal and Ellison has said his office is still reviewing the decision.

Ellison and Walz spoke at an abortion rights rally on Sunday, July 17, at the Capitol and said they would fight to maintain access to legal abortion services in Minnesota. And they said they would protect the privacy of out-of-state residents who come to the state for an abortion, as well as abortion providers and patients that seek the procedure.

“If they want to come here, they get to come here and we’re going to stand and fight for their rights too,” Ellison told the crowd of roughly 5,000 people on Sunday. “Doe v. Gomez, it’s the law of the land, keep abortion safe and legal in Minnesota and everywhere else."

The 1995 state Supreme Court case that Ellison cited guarantees the right to an abortion under the state constitution.

Ellison's Republican challengers Jim Schultz and Doug Wardlow have said they would appeal the ruling and defend the state restrictions on abortion.

The state's largest anti-abortion group, Minnesotans Concerned for Life, over the weekend defended the restrictions and said that they should be upheld.

"Most Minnesotans want commonsense protections for pregnant women and their unborn children," MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach said, "but such protections are not possible as long as leaders like Gov. Walz continue to oppose any and all limits on abortion.”

MORE FROM DANA FERGUSON:
Several incumbent state legislators, particularly in the Senate, edged out competitors with more extreme views on COVID-19, election security and more.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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