Traverse County Attorney attempts to appeal abortion decision

A person holds a sign in support of abortion
Abortion activists counter-protested against the Pro-Life Action Ministries rally in St. Paul on June 24 to celebrate the end of Roe v. Wade in the United States.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Traverse County Attorney Matthew Franzese filed a motion Thursday to intervene to appeal a Ramsey County judge’s ruling that threw out many of Minnesota’s restrictions on abortion.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said last week he would not appeal the ruling by Ramsey County Judge Thomas Gilligan which said restrictions — including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, a requirement that both parents be notified before a minor can get an abortion and the law dictating that only physicians can perform abortions — were not allowed given the Minnesota Constitution’s protection of the right to abortion.

In the motion filed with the help of attorneys from the Thomas More Society, Franzese contends that as the state’s top law enforcement officer, Ellison’s refusal to defend Minnesota law has created confusion about Franzese’s own obligation to enforce state law in his county.

The Thomas More Society describes itself as “a public interest law firm” that often represents anti-abortion and religious groups.

The motion to intervene contends the Ramsey County District Court’s decision is “merely the law of this case” and has “no precedential value beyond Ramsey County.”

"Attorney General Ellison zealously defended the constitutionality of those laws for three solid years, at great cost to Minnesota taxpayers. In his carefully considered opinion, any appeal is not likely to change the outcome and is not in the broad public interest," a spokesperson for Ellison’s office said Thursday.

Ellison said last week in an interview with MPR News that he expected others might try to intervene, but he said he doubted they would be successful.

“I think this is going to be the law of the state of Minnesota and based on the Supreme Court precedent of Doe v. Gomez in 1995" Ellison said.  

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