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Thousands expected to rally for abortion access Sunday at Minnesota Capitol

Pro-abortion access advocates said they expect thousands would converge in St. Paul to demonstrate in support of safe, legal abortion services in Minnesota. The demonstration comes weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

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Abortion activists counter-protested against the Pro-Life Action Ministries rally in St. Paul on June 24, 2022. A state judge on Monday, July 11, 2022, ruled that Minnesota's existing restrictions on abortion violate the state's right to privacy.
Kerem Yücel / MPR News file
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ST. PAUL — Abortion rights supporters on Friday, July 15, said they expect thousands will demonstrate at the Minnesota Capitol on Sunday, July 17, as part of a march to expand access to safe and legal abortion services.

The rally comes weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck the federal constitutional right to an abortion and days after a district court judge in St. Paul blocked several Minnesota restrictions on abortion, ruling that they were unconstitutional.

Abortion remains legal in Minnesota due to a 1995 state Supreme Court ruling that upholds the right to an abortion under the Minnesota Constitution. But neighboring states have enacted or plan to enact bans that outlaw legal abortions.

Abortion rights advocates said Minnesota could become a leader in the region and nationally in expanding access to legal abortion services. And they urged state and federal policymakers to pass legislation that reduces restrictions on the procedure.

“Now is the time to mobilize and demand that Minnesota meet the challenge of this moment as a beacon of compassion and personal freedom, not only for our fellow Minnesotans, but anyone seeking abortion care in our state," Abena Abraham, campaign director of pro-abortion rights group UnRestrict Minnesota, said.

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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.

In the weeks since those laws have taken effect, abortion providers in Minnesota have reported a surge in demand for medical and surgical abortions. And leaders at Planned Parenthood have called on additional health care providers to offer abortion services to help meet the demand.

The "Our Future: March for Abortion Access" is set to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday outside St. Paul College. Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat representing Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, are set to speak at a rally following the march, along with other elected officials.

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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