Minnesota Governor Signs Bills Making State into Abortion, Gender Transition Sanctuary

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Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a trio of bills into law on Thursday, effectively making the state a sanctuary for abortion and gender-transition surgeries.

Two new laws, HF366 and HF146, create legal protections for people traveling to Minnesota for abortion or gender-transition care from other states where the procedures are outlawed. The legislation would shield individuals from extradition orders from other states. However, the governor’s office told the Star Tribune it had not received any such subpoenas or requests for extradition orders for abortion patients. The new abortion law would also make patient data private. The legislation codifies recent executive orders from the Democratic governor.

A Republican state senator, Paul Utke, spoke out against the abortion bill, arguing Minnesota should not protect medical professionals who have purposely violated the abortion laws of other states.

A third law, HF16, bans LGBT conversion therapy in the state.

“That march of bigotry and hate stops at Minnesota’s borders,” Walz said Thursday before signing the bills into law. “Freedom is on the march in Minnesota, decency is on the march in Minnesota, compassion is on the march in Minnesota.”

Abortion and gender-transition treatment providers in Minnesota have reported a rise in patients traveling from out-of-state. Nearby, South Dakota and Wisconsin have banned most abortions since the overturn of Roe v. Wade. North Dakota, which recently passed legislation prohibiting nearly all abortions, also passed a law making it a felony to provide gender-transition treatment services to minors.

The passage of the three bills is the latest result of a Democratic takeover in the state; Democrats currently hold the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.

Washington governor Jay Inslee signed similar legislation into law on Thursday, making the Evergreen State a sanctuary for abortion and gender-transition operations.

“Freedom of choice is a health care issue. We are protecting access to health care,” Inslee said.

Washington state Representative Jim Walsh, a Republican, called the new laws “anti-family” and warned of the potential consequences of not complying with other states’ laws.

“If we don’t honor the actions of courts, of law enforcement agencies from other states, we run the risk of other states not honoring ours,” Walsh said during the debate on the bill, adding concern about creating an “abortion tourism” industry in the state. Abortion facilities in the state have reportedly performed 138 more abortions per month since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

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