Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, a Democrat, has signed a series of new bills including protections for abortion and what is known as gender-affirming care. Walz won another term in office last year against a Trump-endorsed challenger in the midterms.
The measures restrict state compliance with potential investigations and out-of-state cases targeting abortions or gender-affirming care provided in Minnesota. Across the country, Democratic leadership teams have over and over imposed similar protections meant to derail any out-of-state, GOP-led cases targeting healthcare obtained under disputed state permissions.
This area — dealing with potential efforts by authorities at prosecution or other consequences around abortions — can be a live wire. In Florida, it was the stated opposition to conducting prosecutions in cases hinging on an abortion that became a key component of the state excuses for GOP Governor Ron DeSantis forcing locally elected prosecutor Andrew Warren out of office. Regarding those efforts extending out of state, Idaho authorities already pursued restrictions on travel outside that state for a minor obtaining an abortion. Washington, which neighbors Idaho, is among the states where Democrats have enacted responsive protections.
Even if individual states can’t formally undo a probe or case in another jurisdiction over abortions or other healthcare obtained someplace else, refusals to comply with subpoenas, extradition requests, or the like can send them off the metaphorical rails. Walz’s team explained the bill providing protections from out-of-state abortion cases as ensuring “that patients traveling to Minnesota for abortion care, and the providers who serve them, are protected from legal attacks and criminal penalties from other states.” Walz also signed similar protections from out-of-state action for gender-affirming care obtained in Minnesota. In the same batch of newly signed bills was a ban on providing what is known as conversion therapy, which is meant to undo an individual’s LGBTQ+ identity, to minors and “vulnerable adults.”
The measures mirror other recent progress reached by Democrats leading certain states around the country, like Washington and Michigan. In Washington, Governor Jay Inslee also recently signed a ban on selling assault weapons into law, and in Michigan, the state will now have universal background checks for gun purchases. There has also been a ton of action to protect abortion, including formally rescinding old restrictions.