NARAL Pro-Choice America endorses Dean Phillips for Congress in MN-03


For Immediate Release: February 6, 2018
Contact: media@prochoiceamerica.org


NARAL Endorses Dean Phillips for Congress

Nation’s Leading Pro-Choice Advocacy Group Backs Phillips in MN-03


The nation’s leading pro-choice advocacy group today endorsed Dean Phillips in his bid to represent Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District. The support from NARAL Pro-Choice America comes because of Phillips’ commitment to support the rights of women and families across Minnesota as a true fighter for reproductive freedom.

“As the anti-choice GOP in Congress attack our reproductive rights at every turn, we need leaders like Dean Phillips fighting for us,” said Sasha Bruce, Vice President of Campaigns and Strategies for NARAL Pro-Choice America. “NARAL members are proud to back Dean’s campaign, which has proudly defended the reproductive freedom of women and families across the state. In Congress, Dean will stand up to out-of-touch politicians who try to take away our rights and he will protect access to basic reproductive healthcare, including abortion and birth control. NARAL members look forward to continuing to work with Dean to ensure Minnesota women can continue to make their own decisions on if, when, and how they raise their family.”

“Minnesotans are tired of out-of-touch politicians chipping away at our reproductive rights. Dean understands a simple truth: each woman deserves the right to make decisions about her own life, body, and future,” said Andrea Ledger, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. “Dean Phillips is a fighter that will defend the essential reproductive rights of women here in Minnesota and across the country, and NARAL Minnesota is ready to mobilize pro-choice voters in support of him and reproductive freedom.”

“Reproductive freedom and access to abortion are fundamental to the empowerment of women,” said Dean Phillips, candidate for Congress in MN-03. “I am honored to have the support of NARAL members, and I look forward to working with them as we fight for the reproductive freedom, health, and economic security of all Minnesotans.”

A sixth generation Minnesotan, Phillips has spent the past decades as a successful entrepreneur and businessman. While serving as a partner of Talenti Gelato, one of the largest gelato and best-selling ice cream brands in the country, Phillips took philanthropy and responsibility to his community very seriously. Phillips has served many non-profits, and helped bring WE Day to Minnesota, the global youth-empowerment initiative that now engages over 150,000 students in over 550 schools across the state. He reaffirmed his commitment to the women and families of Minnesota by also serving as a board member for the Leadership Council of Worldwide Orphans, Allina Health, and his synagogue, Temple Israel.


NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”




Vote on Tuesday, September 7!

The 2017 municipal elections are approaching.   With all the issues we are facing across the nation and state, what happens in our cities and counties impacts us on many basic levels, multiple times a day. Social justice happens at our front door, on the sidewalk, at our schools, in our various neighborhoods and communities, and even in the water we drink. These are the very basic things that help us grow together as friends and neighbors.  Although you may see endorsement recommendations from other groups, NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota has not endorsed any candidates on the ballot in 2017. We wish all the candidates well.


Find your polling place here!



NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Legislative Update

April 21, 2017

Discriminatory Bills Targeting Abortion Providers Headed to House Floor on Monday

Two anti-choice bills that are designed to limit access to abortion head to the house floor on Monday, April 24.  H.F. 809 denies abortion coverage to women who are covered under Minnesota’s Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program. H.F. 812 singles out abortion providers for burdensome licensure and inspection requirements.

Here’s the schedule of action for the floor session on Monday:

When What Where
2:00 pm Press conference with legislative allies Basement of Capitol,

Room B971

2:30 pm Rally Basement of Capitol, then moving up to second floor outside the House of Representatives chamber
3:30 Support pro-choice members as they walk to the House chamber Outside House chamber

Updates on Anti-Choice bills:

S.F. 704/H.F 809

TS.F. 702/H.F 809 which would prevent patients from using Medical Assistance for abortion services.   Its companion bill in the Senate, S.F. 702, has been placed on the general register and could head to the floor at any time.

Amendment offered to H.F. 812

This week in the Ways and Means committee, Rep. Deb Kiel (R, 01B), Chief Author of H.F. 812, offered a “delete all” amendment to her bill in response to criticism from NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota and our allies.  The bill still imposes unnecessary and discriminatory licensure requirements on abortion clinics. Abortion is extremely safe and supporters of the bill have presented no evidence that additional regulation of clinics in Minnesota is necessary.  According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there are 1,250 other similar clinics performing non-abortion services that would not face the same regulation.  These clinics perform procedures that have similar or higher complication rates than abortion, such as colonoscopies, knee arthroscopies, and liposuction.   Further, the bill could compromise the privacy of abortion providers and patients.  

The Senate companion of the clinic licensure bill (S.F. 704) still must be heard by the Senate Finance Committee before it goes to the floor for a vote.  

Health and Human Service Omnibus Bill in Conference Committee

After passing the House on April 3 and the Senate on April 7, the two versions of the HHS Omnibus bill are in conference committee.  

The House version of the omnibus bill includes a provision singles out abortion via telemedicine for additional reporting, a requirement that doesn’t exist for any other telemedicine procedure.

The Senate version includes a nearly 20% cut to the Family Planning Special Projects grant. This cut would curtail family planning clinics’ ability to provide services such as counseling, contraception access, and STI testing to low income patients.  

Thank You Governor Dayton

Governor Dayton has committed to veto anti-choice restrictions that reach his desk.

In his 2012 letter vetoing a similar bill to impose unnecessary licensure requirements only upon abortion clinics, Gov. Dayton reaffirmed the Minnesota Department of Health’s belief that there is no evidence of poor quality or unsafe procedures being performing in Minnesota clinics that would warrant extra oversight.

In his 2011 veto letter addressing a previous bill restricting Medicaid funding for abortion, Dayton stated that such an action “infringes upon a woman’s basic right to health and safety – a right every woman has, regardless of how she receives her health coverage”.

NARAL members are encouraged to reach out and thank Gov. Dayton for opposing anti-choice legislation using the contact information here.

Take Action!

Tell your legislators that you oppose anti-choice bills S.F 704/H.F. 812 S.F. and 702/H.F. 809 which threaten women’s right to health care! Find out who represents you here. Make sure to follow NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota on Facebook and Twitter to receive current updates about the status of legislation.


Are you ready for Pro-Choice Lobby Day?

Hello, activists!

Below is a list of helpful resources you can refer to for your Pro-Choice Lobby Day legislative visits. Please let us know if you have any questions!

How to Lobby Your Legislators

SF 704/ HF 812 Fact Sheet

Minnesotan’s for Trust, Access, Respect Campaign

If you are interested in attending our Pro-Choice Lobby Day 101 training before the rally, please click here for more information.


NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Legislative Update

March 3, 2017

NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota continues to work against two unconstitutional anti-choice bills that would infringe on abortion rights.

Medicaid Coverage Ban

SF 702/ HF 809 would deny abortion coverage to women who are covered under Minnesota’s Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program.  This bill is clearly unconstitutional.  In 1995, the Minnesota State Supreme Court held that “the difficult decision whether to obtain a therapeutic abortion will not be made by the government, but will be left to the woman and her doctor.”  This constitutional level decision also required that if MA covers pregnancy care, it must also cover abortion care.

In states that do not provide Medicaid coverage for abortion, most low-income women still manage to obtain an abortion.  Most are forced to divert money from living expenses, such as rent, food, or utilities.  An abortion would cost a woman on Medicaid nearly a third of her monthly income.

The Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee heard SF 702 on Tuesday, where it passed along party lines.  The bill is now headed to the Senate floor, where an anti-choice majority is likely to pass it.

In the House, the Health and Human Services Reform Committee heard HF 809 on Thursday, where it was a subject of heated discussion.  Representative Rena Moran (DFL, St. Paul) spoke eloquently and passionately about the bill, asking, “Why don’t we stop doing things for low income women and start doing things with them?  They have ideas and solutions and they know what’s best for them and their families.”  Video of the hearing is available here.

The bill passed out of committee and was referred to the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee.

Abortion Clinic Licensure

SF 704/HF 812 would require abortion clinics to meet discriminatory, unnecessary, and burdensome ambulatory surgical center standards.  Last June, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a similar Texas law was unconstitutional because it placed an undue burden on women seeking abortion.  Abortion is extremely safe and clinics already meet the licensing requirements of the state licensing boards for medicine and nursing.  If this bill is enacted, 4 of the 5 abortion clinics in Minnesota will be forced to close.

The Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee heard SF 704 on Tuesday evening.  The bill passed along party lines, but Sen. Dan Schoen (DFL, Cottage Grove) was able to include an amendment protecting the privacy of patient records.  The bill is headed to the Senate Finance Committee.  Sen. Pappas (DFL, St. Paul) also confirmed that she had spoken to Governor Dayton, who is committed to vetoing the bill if it reaches his desk.

In the House, the Health and Human Services Reform Committee heard HF 812  on Thursday.   Newly elected Rep. Liz Olson (DFL, Duluth) informed committee members that she had visited the Women’s Health Center of Duluth, the only abortion provider in greater Minnesota.  The clinic is fully insured, complies with all relevant laws, and is certified by the National Abortion Federation, which conducted a successful inspection last fall.  Despite the constitutional questions raised about the bill, it passed out of committee and was referred to the House Government Operations Committee.  Video of the hearing is available here.

Defund Planned Parenthood Bill Introduced in House

HF 1962, chief authored by Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R, Stillwater) was introduced on Thursday.  The bill would deny tens of thousands of Minnesota women access to Planned Parenthood by cutting off the state funding and federal funding that many women rely on in order to get basic reproductive health care like birth control, clinical breast exams and cervical cancer screenings.

The bill has not yet been scheduled in committee, but could be included in the 2017-18 House budget bill.


Coming Up:  

Wednesday, March 16, 6:30-8 PM, NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota:  Lobby Day Volunteer Training

Wednesday, March 29:  Pro-Choice Lobby Day.  Register now to receive briefings on important bills impacting reproductive rights and to lobby your legislators.



NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota February Legislative Update

February 24, 2017

Two anti-choice bills pass Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee.

SF 702/HF 809, an insurance coverage ban on abortion and a TRAP (Targeted Regulation for Abortion Providers) bill (SF 704/HF 812) that would require clinic licensure, were heard in the Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee on February 23. Chief-authored, respectively, by Sen. Kiffmeyer (30, R) and Sen. Fischbach (13, R), both bills passed through the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and will be heard by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety next week.  You can see video of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Executive Director Andrea Ledger’s testimony here.

Senate File 702 prohibits state-sponsored health programs from funding abortions.    

NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota opposes SF 702/HF 809, a bill to deny Medical Assistance coverage of abortion. This bill would discriminate against women based on the type of insurance they have, specifically targeting low-income women and women of color. Although the Hyde Amendment prohibits Medicaid funding for abortion, Minnesota’s constitution guarantees women the right to use Medical Assistance to cover abortion.

Executive Director Andrea Ledger testified against the bill, using evidence from the 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision, Doe v. Gomez, which held that “the difficult decision whether to obtain a therapeutic abortion will not be made by the government, but will be left to the woman and her doctor.”  The court further held that so long as Minnesota funded pregnancy care, it could not refuse to fund care related to abortion.  The decision was upheld in the 2014 case Walker v. Jesson.  For a woman who uses Medicaid, an abortion would cost a very significant portion of her income, forcing her to make difficult decisions about the needs of  her family and her health.  Further, studies have shown that in states which deny Medicaid coverage of abortion, women still find a way to have an abortion, they just push the abortion later into pregnancy.

The bill was also opposed by Pro-Choice Resources, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota South Dakota Action Fund, the Minnesota chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Minnesota Medical Association, and the Minnesota chapter of the ACLU.

Senate File 704 would require abortion clinics to meet discriminatory, unnecessary, and burdensome licensing standards.  

NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota opposes SF 704 as an unconstitutional restriction on a woman’s right to abortion. This bill would certainly incur a constitutional challenge based on the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.  Similar bills have shut down abortion clinics across the country, limiting options for women seeking abortion and endangering their health.  

NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Executive Director, Andrea Ledger, testified in opposition to the bill, using the Supreme Court findings from Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt which state that “the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits to women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.” Other states have spent millions defending against unconstitutional restrictions on abortions, both in their own legal fees and in judgments to pay challengers’ legal fees. Ledger further clarified that abortion is an extremely safe procedure, with a complication rate of less that 0.01% in Minnesota in 2015. Written testimony was submitted from Women’s Health Center of Duluth, the only abortion clinic in greater Minnesota, which stated that the costs of meeting surgical-center requirements mandated by this bill would reach upwards of $800,000.

The bill was also opposed by the Minnesota Department of Health, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund, the Minnesota chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Minnesota Medical Association, and the Minnesota chapter of the ACLU.

Republicans seek to define contraception methods as “abortifacients”.  

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Commerce and Regulatory Reform heard a reinsurance bill that would not only bring back insurance company discrimination based on preexisting conditions, but would also define two popular methods of birth control as “abortifacients”.

The bill would require insurance companies to offer plans to enrollees that do not include IUDs or Plan B contraception.  The idea that birth control causes abortion is based on sham science that has been debunked by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

You can read more about the bill here, which includes this great quote from Rep. Laurie Halverson:  “I don’t belabor the point because this is not a healthcare committee, but I think all of us, as we talk about healthcare coverage, talk about wanting to expand coverage and how people can get the care they need. We never say ‘except for.’ ‘Except for women,’ is what we’re saying in this particular section of the bill?”

Good news–state FACE Act introduced.

On Thursday, HF 1642, the Minnesota Freedom to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act was introduced by Chief Author Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn.  The bill makes sure that clinics are safe spaces for patients seek reproductive health care.

The bill is part of the broader Minnesotans for Trust, Respect, Access campaign, a coalition that includes Gender Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota South Dakota Action Fund, and Pro-Choice Resources.  The campaign is also supporting the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (Rep. Erin Murphy/ Sen. Sandy Pappas) and the Physician’s Integrity Act (Rep. Laurie Halverson/ Sen. Matt Klein, M.D.)

Monday evening, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund is hosting Across the Line, an immersive virtual reality experience that combines 360° video and computer generated imaging to put viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a clinic for an abortion.

Coming Up:  

Monday, Feb. 27, 5:30 PM-8:00 PM, Amsterdam Bar:   Across the Line:  A Virtual Reality Experience (RSVP required for viewing the virtual reality experience.)

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1 PM:  Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy will hear SF 704 (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) and SF 702 (Medical Assistance Coverage Ban on Abortion)

Wednesday, March 16, 6:30-8 PM, NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota:  Lobby Day Volunteer Training

Wednesday, March 29:  Pro-Choice Lobby Day.  Register now to receive briefings on important bills impacting reproductive rights and to lobby your legislators.


After Election Statement from ED, Andrea Ledger


This morning when I woke up, I had to explain to my six-year-old daughter that we had not elected the first female president.  We were both disappointed and we both cried.  Then, we talked about where we go from here.  We talked about love and respect and working hard for what we believe in.

I can’t give up.  The future is too important.  I am just as committed to reproductive rights today as I was yesterday and I know that all of you are, too.  I thank each and every one of you for your hard work, your financial contributions, and your strength during this election cycle.

Here in Minnesota, we now have an anti-choice House and Senate.  We’ve been here before—in 2011 and 2012, anti-choice politicians passed an unprecedented number of bills that sought to decimate our family planning safety net and virtually eliminate access to abortion.  We organized and provided Governor Dayton with the grassroots support he needed to veto every piece of anti-choice legislation.  With your help, we can do it again.

We know that this election wasn’t about reproductive rights.  7 in 10 Minnesotans believe in access to safe, legal abortion, free from government interference.  Overwhelming majorities of voters support a strong family planning network that provides access to contraception and reproductive health care.  Unfortunately, that won’t stop anti-choice extremists from attacking women’s health on day one of the 2017 legislative session.

I’m ready to fight back.  It won’t be easy, but we’ll do it one phone call, one door knock, and one lobbying visit at a time.  Will you join me? 

So, let us shed our tears.  Let us console one another.  But together, let us move forward.

Andrea Ledger

Executive Director
NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota