SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 366, the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act with a 68-62 vote. The bill, authored by Representative Esther Agbaje (DFL-Minneapolis), protects the privacy and rights of persons receiving or providing reproductive health care in the state.
“Bodily autonomy is a right, and today we took a critical step in protecting that for more people and providers. The Reproductive Freedom Defense Act will protect the fundamental rights of Minnesota healthcare providers and patients from legal attacks and criminal penalties imposed by anti-abortion extremists in other states,” said Rep. Agbaje. “With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we must ensure all Minnesotans have equitable access to reproductive healthcare.”
Among its provisions, HF 366 protects a patient’s health records by specifying that the following do not authorize the release of those records: a law in another state authorizing a subpoena to obtain records relating to reproductive health care services, nor an order issued by a court in another state authorizing the investigation or enforcement of another state’s law that restricts or punishes the provision of reproductive health care services.
“Earlier this session, we enacted the PRO Act, codifying in state statute that Minnesotans have a fundamental right to reproductive health care and reproductive freedom. Today, we are taking the next step and passing protections for doctors and patients who need access to the full range of reproductive health care options,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Post-Dobbs, we’ve seen states around the country — and the states around us — rush to ban or severely limit abortion access and reproductive freedom, including trying to reach beyond their borders to criminalize health care in states like ours. We are making it clear that abortion patients and doctors will be protected in Minnesota.”
The Reproductive Freedom Defense Act also prohibits a judge in Minnesota from issuing a warrant for the arrest of someone in Minnesota charged in a different state for a crime arising from acts committed here involving lawful reproductive health care. Finally, the bill prohibits the arrest of a person charged in another state from a crime arising from acts committed in Minnesota that involve reproductive health care.
Further, HF 366 prohibits a court in Minnesota from applying a law from another state in a civil action or enforcing a judgment, or satisfying a judgment from another state, if that law is one that allows someone to be sued for seeking to terminate a pregnancy, terminating a pregnancy, or assisting in the termination of a pregnancy. Moreover, the bill prevents enforcement of a subpoena issued here or in another state if the subpoena is related to a criminal or civil case that restricts someone’s ability to terminate a pregnancy. The relevant section does not apply to causes of action or the enforcement of judgments or subpoenas if the same cause of action, or civil or criminal action, could be maintained in Minnesota.
Additionally, HF 366 allows someone to sue another person who brought a case against them in a different state for using or assisting someone in using, reproductive health care services.
You can watch the presentation and testimony of the bill here.