Minnesota Attorney General Allows “Meritless Litigation” in Challenge to Abortion Laws

The Thomas More Society is asking to intervene in a lawsuit brought against the state of Minnesota by two abortion workers who have concealed their identity and a church group that advocates abortion. The lawsuit seeks to overturn Minnesota’s 24-hour waiting period for abortions, parental notification standards, and a provision mandating that aborted babies be buried or cremated rather than being treated like medical waste. The lawsuit also seeks to strike the requirement that all abortions be performed by a physician. On October 14, 2019, Thomas More Society attorneys filed notice with Minnesota District Court, seeking to intervene in the lawsuit to end what they label “meritless litigation.”  Pro-Life Action Ministries and the Association for Government Accountability are intervening on behalf of taxpayers.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, an advocate for permissive abortion laws, has, nonetheless, publicly committed to “defend the laws of the state of Minnesota,” without regard for his own personal opinions. Since Ellison failed to raise what might be the strongest defense to the lawsuit, the Thomas More Society filed a motion to intervene in the action to assert that defense on behalf of its clients Pro-Life Action Ministries, Incorporated and the Association for Government Accountability.

Erick Kaardal, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society, explained the legal action taken in response by the national not-for-profit public interest law firm. “The groups that have brought this lawsuit against the state have no ‘Private Cause of Action,’ which means they have no right under Minnesota law to bring this lawsuit.  Attorney General Ellison is not defending Minnesota law or protecting Minnesota citizens as he promised.”

The Attorney General’s Office has regularly and appropriately utilized the lack of “Private Cause of Action” defense to uphold the state’s laws in multiple recent lawsuits. To not do so in this case is “poor stewardship” and an “affront to Minnesota’s people,” according to Kaardal. “As the plaintiffs in this lawsuit have no standing to sue Minnesota over this issue, any time the attorney general has spent handling this lawsuit without raising the Lack of Private Cause of Action defense has wasted government resources and taxpayer dollars and undermined the defense,” he stated. “Minnesota’s common-sense abortion laws deserve a vigorous defense,” Kaardal added.

The Notice of Limited Intervention meets all of the following legal requirements: it is timely, the proposed interveners have an interest in the subject matter of the lawsuit and are unable to protect that interest without being parties to the legal action, and their interests are not adequately represented by existing parties.

“There is clearly no private cause of action for these claims, which are based upon violations of Minnesota’s constitution. This lawsuit only continues because of the Attorney General’s Office’s failure, despite the availability of an applicable and complete defense, routinely applied by the Attorney General’s Office in other cases, to stop it,” Kaardal declared. “The attorney general has failed Minnesotans on this lawsuit. The Thomas More Society is here on behalf of Minnesotans to correct for the Attorney General’s Office’s failings, assert the omitted complete defense, and end this litigation for good.”

Brian Gibson, Executive Director for Pro-Life Action Ministries, stated, “The sensible Minnesota laws which protect parental rights and families, uphold the tradition of treating human remains with dignity and respect, and ensure that accurate and complete information be available to women, among others, deserve to be robustly and properly defended. Unfortunately, Attorney General Ellison appears to allow his radical pro-abortion beliefs to interfere with his obligations to the people of the State of Minnesota. Pro-Life Action Ministries is seeking to do what is proper and right to the duties of the Minnesota Attorney General.”

According to Association for Government Accountability board member Debra Roschen, “The Association for Government Accountability is participating in this legal action because we oppose the government’s financial abuse of taxpayers. The seemingly intentionally partial defense of AG Ellison has prolonged and expanded a case that should have been dismissed. Instead, Ellison chooses to use his office to promote the pro-choice agenda all while ringing up the legal fees on Minnesota taxpayers.”

(Editor’s note — We will keep you informed as these legal proceedings continue.)    

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