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Ellison vows to defend visitors seeking abortions

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says women who come to Minnesota seeking to end pregnancies won't be prosecuted.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is going out of his way to make sure women know abortion will still be legal here in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturns 1973's Roe v. Wade decision.

On Tuesday, his office launched a new web page explaining those rights to women here in Minnesota and anyone who travels to the state seeking an abortion. The first-term Democrat said women should not fear prosecution as long as he's in office.

"No one who travels from another state to seek an abortion that’s legal in Minnesota is going to be prosecuted," Ellison told reporters.

"No one from another state who has a miscarriage while in Minnesota will be prosecuted."

Ellison also vowed to fight extradition efforts by others states that try to bring criminal charges against women for coming Minnesota to secure an abortion or birth control.

RELATED: How the Supreme Court's decision about Roe v. Wade could impact Minnesotans

If the High Court upholds Mississippi's abortion restrictions in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health, it's highly likely states will be free to ban abortion without fear of violating the U.S. Constitution.

The right to have an abortion in Minnesota came from a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision in Doe vs. Gomez, which established women have the right under the state constitution to have access to abortions.

"This is a legal landscape post-Dobbs that’s going to be absolute chaos, that’s going to take a long time to sort out those issues, but the key point is there’s fundamental right a woman has to choose under the Minnesota Constitution, no matter what happens to the federal Constitution," Michael Steenson, a professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, told reporters.

The same ruling said low-income women can have their treatment paid for by the taxpayers through the state's Medical Assistance health coverage.

Planned Parenthood North Central States, based in St. Paul, has been gearing up accommodate women from other states. Minnesota is surrounded by states that will either ban abortion immediately or are led by Republican-controlled legislatures that will move quickly to enact bans.

Planned Parenthood's Sarah Stoesz, who joined Ellison at this press conference, said abortions are no longer being scheduled in South Dakota clinics because the Supreme Court could issue a ruling any day now. 

"In South Dakota if a decision overturning Roe comes down, it’s not a matter of having it happen that day, it would happen that minute. We would have to stop immediately," Stoesz explained.

She said that North Dakota's ban on abortions would likely take effect within 30 days of the ruling, and Wisconsin's pre-Roe ban would be reinstated. State lawmakers in Iowa and Nebraska are expected to pass bans shortly after the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling comes down.

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