Reproductive Rights Advocates Take Legal Action Against Anti-Choice Lawsuit to Restrict Insurance Coverage for Minnesota Women

(PRESS RELEASE) National and local reproductive rights advocates took legal action today to fight a Minnesota lawsuit designed to restrict insurance coverage for low-income women’s reproductive health care. 

The Center for Reproductive Rights, along with Minnesota-based non-profit Gender Justice, filed a motion to intervene in Walker v. Jesson—a state lawsuit filed in November 2012 by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom seeking to end all state insurance coverage of abortion services for women in Minnesota. 

Today’s motion was filed on behalf of Pro-Choice Resources, a Minnesota reproductive justice organization that helps provide funding to low-income women seeking abortions. The state Department of Human Services has filed a motion to dismiss the case, with a hearing scheduled before District Court Judge Kathleen R. Gearin on February 28. 

“Every woman should be guaranteed equal and affordable access to a full range of reproductive health care, including abortion services—a right that the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed and protected nearly 20 years ago,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights. "We are stepping in to stop the anti-choice ideologues who seek to stand between low-income women and the health care that is their right under the law"  

In the early 1990s, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit, Doe v. Gomez, on behalf of Pro-Choice Resources and other Minnesota reproductive rights and health organizations to change Minnesota state law prohibiting state insurance plans from covering abortion services even when necessary to preserve a woman’s health. And in 1995, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that denying insurance coverage for medical services related to therapeutic abortions infringes on a woman’s fundamental rights under the state constitution. “

The Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision in the Gomez case has long guaranteed low-income women’s access to reproductive health care in Minnesota,” said Lisa Stratton, co-founder of Gender Justice. “We are committed to protecting it from an attack designed to erode Minnesota women’s rights to make their own health care choices.”

“A woman’s income shouldn’t dictate whether she can access essential reproductive health care,” said Karen Law, executive director of Pro-Choice Resources. “Every woman’s circumstance is different, which is why it’s critical that Minnesota’s medical assistance program continue to cover a full range of pregnancy-related services, including abortion. These important personal health decisions are best left to a woman and her family.”  

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The Center for Reproductive Rights is a global legal advocacy organization that fights to ensure reproductive rights are treated as fundamental human rights. 

Pro-Choice Resources is a grassroots organization that provides a range of reproductive health services, working every day to reduce barriers to reproductive health access. 

Gender Justice is a regional nonprofit organization based in Minnesota,  which seeks to eliminate gender barriers through litigation, public policy advocacy, and education programs.