color photograph of an outdoor protest. dozens of people stand in the mid-ground and background. in the foreground, a person holds up a yellow paper sign with a black silhouette of the shape of minnesota and white printed text that reads "unrestrict minnesota"
St. Paul, Minnesota. July 17, 2022. Thousands march and rally in support of legal abortion access after the U.S. Supreme court overturned the federal constitutional right to an abortion. They are there to show the leaders and country what Minnesotans really stand for. (Photo by: Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

In post-Roe America, your ability to get abortion care depends on where you live and who makes the laws in your state. While some states are racing to implement severe restrictions or outright bans on abortion, Minnesota is one of the most successful states in the nation pushing for abortion access and reproductive freedom. 

During this year’s historic legislative session, Minnesota passed several landmark reforms restoring abortion to its rightful place as essential health care. We enshrined abortion into law, decriminalized abortion care, removed archaic and harmful restrictions that mandated misinformation and wait times, and made it safe for anyone to travel here and get the care they need. But abortion cannot be legal in name only—it must be accessible for any and all who need it. With new bans and restrictions popping up all over the U.S., people across the nation are looking to Minnesota for leadership, care, and to provide the blueprint for a freer, more compassionate approach to abortion.

Now, Minnesotans have the opportunity to continue building a future where reproductive care is accessible to everyone, without stigma or barriers, and lead the way for abortion access nationally. We’re acting on our Minnesotan values of care and compassion by ensuring that each and every person can receive abortion care in our state—whether that’s long-time Minnesotans or out-of-state abortion patients. 

Passing legislation to protect and expand access is an enormous victory, but it cannot be where the fight ends. Even with key legal obstacles out of the way, like mandatory misinformation and harmful wait times, access to this essential care is not always straightforward. The next step is removing systemic barriers to access driven by race, socioeconomic status, immigration status, and geography. Abortion care must be available to everyone who needs it, no matter how much they make or where they live. 

That also means pushing back against the harassment and stigma people face at clinics or in their communities. We need to address years of stigmatizing messages and attacks from anti-abortion advocates by loudly declaring our support for abortion providers and those who have had abortions. Too often, we feel pressure to hide or minimize our support for abortion care due to the loud minority of anti-abortion voices. But Minnesotans continue to show up and come together to protect and expand reproductive freedom. We know that our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our coworkers support our right to bodily autonomy.  

As we celebrate our successes in the legislature, we’re calling on Minnesotans—and people across the country—to use this moment as an opportunity to share their support for abortion care with their communities. Starting the conversation is the biggest step—because more likely than not, your loved ones already support reproductive freedom. We cannot claim victory and walk away—even the significant progress our movement has achieved cannot be where our efforts end. The work has to continue.

Reproductive justice is a Minnesota value—and we proved it. The progress we achieved during this past legislative session is integral to achieving our closest-held ideals, living our shared values, and leading the way toward a new vision for reproductive health, rights, and justice—not just for our state, but for the Midwest and the U.S. overall. And we’re not stopping here—we will continue to advocate for the removal of barriers to access for everyone, like the requirement for physicians to notify both parents when providing abortions to minors, which was found unconstitutional last summer but still remains on the books. We will also fight to expand Medicaid reimbursement for reproductive care costs and ensure abortion is affordable for everyone. 

With abortion rights under attack in the U.S., Minnesota will continue to be a beacon for compassionate care for this country while providing a roadmap for advocates in other states. We are rising to the challenge to protect reproductive freedoms for ourselves and abortion-seekers who come to us for help. It’s crucial that we educate our families, friends, and communities about the importance of expanding abortion access. No matter where we live, it’s time to turn our enthusiasm for reproductive justice into sustained action to protect and expand reproductive freedom.

Abena Abraham comes to UnRestrict Minnesota with years of experience in advocacy, campaigning and the coordination of people around a unified movement. Her move to the US at a young age impacted how she...