ST. PAUL — Minnesota abortion opponents on Monday, Oct. 14, filed a request to intervene in a case aimed at striking a slate of state laws aimed at restricting access to the procedure.
The move is an attempt to get the lawsuit filed by reproductive rights, health care and religious groups dismissed. An attorney that filed the request in the 2nd Judicial District Court argued that the groups bringing the lawsuit don't have the ground or standing to sue. Attorney General Keith Ellison last month filed a motion to dismiss the case, but the abortion opponents took fault with his leaving out an argument.
Erick Kaardal, an attorney working with the Thomas More Society, along with two Republican state lawmakers and representatives from the Pro-Life Action Ministries and Association for Government Accountability at a news conference said Ellison should've also argued that the groups didn't have standing and were causing "unnecessary litigation and waste of taxpayer resources" in his motion to dismiss the case.
"If you have a disagreement with Minnesota's abortion laws, the place to go is the Legislature, not suing in court," Erick Kaardal, an attorney working with the Thomas More Society, said at a news conference.
Reproductive rights groups, along with a Minnesota doctor who performs abortions, a certified nurse-midwife who would like to offer abortions and the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis filed the lawsuit in May arguing Minnesota's laws "impose burdensome and unnecessary restrictions on healthcare providers, increasing the cost and decreasing the availability of sexual and reproductive healthcare in Minnesota." The two medical providers weren't named in the complaint as they were concerned about their safety.
The lawsuit takes aim at state laws that require a 24-hour waiting period to obtain an abortion as well as the notification of two parents of a patient under the age of 18. The laws also specify that fetal remains must be cremated or buried and they lay out specific constraints for who can perform an abortion.
A spokesman for Ellison defended the attorney general's efforts to keep the laws on the books, saying he'd argued in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit much of what the abortion opponents were calling for on Monday.
“The first argument of the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit is precisely that the plaintiffs have failed to prove their standing," Ellison's spokesman John Stiles said. "In addition, the state argues that the plaintiffs have failed to name the proper defendants and that their claims fail as a matter of law. We look forward to making that argument in court at the end of this month.”
There were 9,910 induced abortions performed in Minnesota in 2018, per the report released according to state health statistics. That number was down slightly compared to a year earlier. That data is the most recent available.