Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.
In today’s Quickie: PRO Act heads to MN Governor’s desk, anti-abortion politicians move to criminalize abortion, PP Votes responds to RNC anti-abortion agenda for 2024, and a state fights look ahead for the week.
PRO ACT HEADS TO MN GOVERNOR’S DESK: After hours of debate, the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act passed the Minnesota Senate early Saturday morning, heading to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk where he is expected to sign it into law this week. The PRO Act codifies reproductive rights into state law, including the right to contraception, the right to fertility treatments, the right to pregnancy, and the right to abortion. Once signed, the bill will immediately take effect.
“Today, the Minnesota Senate voted to trust doctors and our patients,” said Dr. Sarah Traxler, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood North Central States. “The PRO Act solidifies Minnesotans’ human rights into state law and is an insurance policy that our rights won’t be taken away by politicians or judges. All I want, and doctors across Minnesota want, is to provide the best care we can to our patients. And by passing the PRO Act into state law, the Minnesota Legislature will allow us to do just that.”
AMERICANS OVERWHELMINGLY DON’T WANT THEIR HEALTH CARE TO BE CRIMINALIZED: Earlier this month, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall suggested that Alabamans that use abortion pills could be charged under a chemical endangerment law. In Arkansas, lawmakers have proposed allowing anyone who gets an abortion to be charged under the state’s homicide law. In Oklahoma, anti-abortion politicians are considering repealing provisions that prohibit the prosecution of pregnant people for getting an abortion.
So it comes as no surprise that according to new polling released today from PPFA and Change Research, the vast majority of Americans are concerned about criminalizing patients and providers for abortion care. They also believe criminalization is likely to happen or has already begun.
As Elizabeth Nash with the Guttmacher Institute notes, criminalizing abortion care will also lead to discriminatory outcomes:
“People who do not have sufficient access to health care, including abortion care, are the ones who would be targeted by these prosecutions. And they’re primarily low income and people of color.”
PP VOTES RESPONDS TO RNC PLAN TO DOUBLE DOWN ON ANTI-ABORTION AGENDA IN 2024: Today, the Republican National Committee (RNC) passed a resolution to “go on offense in the 2024 election cycle" on abortion and "pass the strongest pro-life legislation possible.” Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes fired back on this extreme agenda:
“When will they learn? In 2022, voters resoundingly rejected anti-abortion politicians and made it clear that we do not want lawmakers controlling our bodies. Yet the RNC’s response is to double down and make a national abortion ban a part of the party platform. Every candidate will be held accountable to this out-of-touch agenda — Planned Parenthood political and advocacy organizations will make sure of it.”
STATE FIGHTS LOOK AHEAD: Good news, bad news: In good news, Minnesota passes the Protect Reproductive Options Act for the second reproductive health victory of the session. In bad news, Utah passed and signed into law the first gender affirming care ban, and other states continue to advance anti-abortion legislation.
- Early Saturday morning after 15 hours of debate, the Protect Reproductive Options Act (PRO Act) passed the Minnesota Senate, on a vote of 34-33. This historic vote codifies reproductive rights into state law, including the right to contraception, the right to fertility treatment, the right to pregnancy, and the right to abortion. The PRO Act now heads to Gov. Tim Walz for signature. Once signed, it will take effect immediately.
- On Wednesday, Nebraska lawmakers will hold a committee hearing on a proposed six-week abortion ban. The bill currently includes an emergency clause so it would go into effect as soon as it is signed by the governor.
- This week, following passage by the full House on Friday, the Utah Senate will consider a resolution that would amend the rules of civil procedure to prevent litigants from securing a preliminary injunction unless they can demonstrate the case has a substantial likelihood of success–a much steeper threshold than current Utah law. The resolution specifically targets the hold on Utah’s abortion trigger ban which has been in place since June, following Planned Parenthood Advocates of Utah’s challenge to the law. The Utah Bar Association has come out against the resolution. Last week, Utah also became the first state this session to enact a gender affirming care ban.
- On Friday, the Wyoming Senate voted to advance a bill to criminalize the manufacturing, distribution, or prescribing of medication abortion – including misoprostol, which is used for other, non-abortion care including miscarriage management. This bill could threaten access to that drug, and others. There is also a penalty for providers who violate the ban. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration this week.
- After the Virginia Senate officially defeated three anti-abortion bills — including a total abortion ban and Gov. Youngkin’s 15-week ban — last Thursday, House committees will consider harmful legislation this week, starting this afternoon with a proposed defund bill, so-called “born alive” legislation, and a bill to reinstate mandatory biased counseling.
- On Tuesday, New Hampshire lawmakers will hold an initial hearing for a measure to codify abortion rights in state law. SB 181 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee, with public testimony expected from Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund and its supporters. A hearing on the House version, HB 88, is scheduled for Feb. 15.
- Arizona is advancing several anti-abortion bills, including legislation to allow a person to count a fetus as a dependent.