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Who's having abortions? MN Dept. of Health annual report details statistics

MDH and doctors performing the procedure are required to provide information like geographical items, patient education, race and age.

ST PAUL, Minn. — The doctors in Minnesota who are performing abortions are required to report information about each procedure to the state. The data is then compiled into yearly reports that the Minnesota Department of Health is required to publicly release. 

Some of the data includes the patient's age, ethnicity and education level — essentially painting a picture of who's getting an abortion in the state.

Abortion would likely remain legal in Minnesota if the U.S Supreme Court were to throw out the Roe v. Wade decision due to a state Supreme Court ruling in 1995.

The ruling, known as Doe v. Gomez, guaranteed the right to abortions in Minnesota, and required the state to cover the cost for low-income patients. Because of that ruling, experts predict an influx of out-of-state patients to Minnesota.

"My understanding is that every expectation is that kind of interstate travel is only going to increase," said University of Minnesota Law Professor Jill Hasday. "I think it's fair to say there currently is not the capacity in the remaining states to provide all the abortions that people might want."

Professor Hasday calls abortion a "widespread procedure". 

Data from MDH's latest report in 2020, show there were 20 facilities, four of which which are Planned Parenthood locations, across the state that perform abortions. The same data also shows there were just over 9,100 abortions performed in 2020. 

"More than 80% of the people getting abortions in Minnesota are unmarried," said Professor Hasday. 

The data also shows a majority are in their 20s and first trimester. 

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"For me, the most striking national statistic is that 75% of the women getting abortions are at or near the poverty line," said Professor Hasday.

That same MDH data shows economics and not wanting more children as two top reasons people reported getting an abortion. 

"If you want to decrease abortion, increasing the social safety net seems like a very promising way to do it, because many people are choosing abortion because they don't have the resources to raise a child," said Professor Hasday.  

She says an enormous change in constitutional law is expected when the Supreme Court announces its decision on Roe, which could come down in June.

"There’s widespread consensus that abortion rights as we’ve known it are not going to exist," said Professor Hasday, who notes Minnesota does have several restrictions on abortions.

They include a 24-hour waiting period after a person has contacted a doctor about having an abortion, a requirement to notify two parents if the patient is under 18-years-old, along with how to dispose of remains in a dignified and sanitary way.

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