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Advocates Go to Court to Protect Medicaid Funding of Abortion Care in Minnesota

Jessica Mason Pieklo

As a judge considers whether to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Medicaid coverage of abortions, the Center for Reproductive Rights steps in to help with the fight.

Last week The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), along with Minnesota-based non-profit Gender Justice, filed a motion to intervene in a Minnesota case that seeks to undo a court decision that guarantees Medicaid funding for medically necessary abortions.

CRR intervened in the case on behalf of Pro-Choice Resources, a Minnesota reproductive justice organization that helps provide funding to low-income women seeking abortions. “Every woman should be guaranteed equal and affordable access to a full range of reproductive health care, including abortion services—a right that the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed and protected nearly 20 years ago,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We are stepping in to stop the anti-choice ideologues who seek to stand between low-income women and the health care that is their right under the law.” 

Local advocates also underscored the importance of decision in Doe v. Gomez and why every challenge must be taken very seriously. “The Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision in the Gomez case has long guaranteed low-income women’s access to reproductive health care in Minnesota,” said Lisa Stratton, co-founder of Gender Justice, and it is a legacy women’s health advocates intent to keep. “We are committed to protecting it from an attack designed to erode Minnesota women’s rights to make their own health care choices.”

But even in states like Minnesota where some Medicaid funding for abortion care is protected, access to that care is not guaranteed and often hard to find. That leaves advocates with the additional task of fighting to expand that access while simultaneously fighting to preserve what little exists right now.

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Lawyers representing the state of Minnesota have also asked the court to dismiss the case. A decision has not yet been made on the state’s motion.

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