Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation Thursday that further enshrines the right to abortion and gender-affirming care into law and another that bans so-called conversion therapy.
The new legislation enhances existing state law that makes access to abortion and gender-affirming care legal and opposes conversion therapy.
Walz previously signed an executive order restricting conversion therapy in the state in 2021. And earlier this year, the Democratic governor codified the right to abortion in the state and signed an executive order in March directing state agencies to protect and support access to gender-affirming health care across the state.
“In Minnesota, we’re protecting rights – not taking them away,” Walz said in a statement on Twitter after signing the bills.
The laws Walz signed Thursday include the reproductive health care and gender-affirming care bills, HF366 and HF146, which will shield people from legal action that other states may levy over such care.
The legislation banning conversion therapy, HF16, which garnered only two Republican votes in the Senate, outlaws organized attempts to convert people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning into straight or cisgender people.
The latest bills out of Minnesota stand in stark contrast with bills cracking down on gender-affirming care and abortion pushed by Republican-led states across the country and follows a trend of blue states enacting shield laws to become havens for those seeking abortions and gender-affirming treatment who may be traveling from states where the practices are banned.
Walz’s approval of the trio of bills adds to the list of progressive legislation the state’s Democratic trifecta has been able to pass this session. Walz also signed legislation earlier this year restoring the voting rights of thousands of convicted felons in Minnesota and is expected to sign legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana and expunge marijuana convictions if it passes out of the state Senate, possibly as early as this week.