by Evan Stambaugh
A Minnesota county attorney is stepping in following Attorney General Keith Ellison’s refusal to appeal a court ruling that dispenses with several abortion restrictions.
On Thursday, Traverse County Attorney Matthew Franzese filed an intervening motion in Ramsey County District Court, almost four weeks after Judge Thomas Gilligan tossed out numerous longstanding abortion restrictions as “unconstitutional.”
Attorney Erick Kaardal of the Thomas More Society, the group filing the intervening motion on behalf of Franzese, said Ellison is shirking his legal duty to defend the laws of Minnesota, which includes upholding any abortion restrictions on the books.
“Ellison, a known supporter of abortion, has allowed an abortionist, and another abortion worker — both of whom have concealed their identity — along with an abortion advocacy group and transgender proponents, to attempt to strip away Minnesota’s protective oversight and eliminate any regulation of abortion,” Kaardal said in a statement. “This is something that the Minnesota constitution prohibits them from doing. And Ellison has chosen to allow them to do this without mounting a reasonable defense.”
The case, Doe v. Minnesota, had been in the court system for three years before Judge Gilligan’s ruling. Gilligan ended up overturning at least five abortion restrictions and upholding one.
Kaardal continued by arguing that the state of Minnesota cannot be sued to overturn an existing law unless one of the plaintiffs has been “charged with violating it.” The motion to appeal also asserts that Gilligan’s ruling has “no precedential value beyond Ramsey County.”
Thus, Franzese claims an obligation to continue enforcing the abortion restrictions in Traverse County, which borders both North and South Dakota.
Some of the scrapped abortion restrictions include a 24-hour waiting period, a 48-hour parental notification for minors, and a law stating that only physicians can commit abortions. Ellison claimed that an appeal of the case would not be “a proper or prudent use of limited state resources.”
“As Minnesota’s attorney general, I must consider the broad public interest in deciding whether to appeal any court outcome, including rulings related to the constitutionality of state laws,” he said in a statement. “The public interest includes a number of factors, including the likelihood of success of an appeal, the proper and careful use of state resources, the impact on other areas of state law, and the public’s need for finality.”
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Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.
Photo “Keith Ellison” by U.S. House Office of Photography. Background Photo “Pregnant Woman” by Matilda Wormwood.