Fact check: Minnesota anti-abortion ad campaign vs. reality

A new anti-abortion ad campaign is spreading across the state of Minnesota this week — in newspapers, on radio, and on TV, including here on FOX 9.

Supporters of abortion rights argue it’s misleading. FOX 9 fact checked the initial ad to see what holds up and what doesn’t.

The ads talk about the law passed here last year and a new Equal Rights Amendment under consideration. They say it’s extreme, but legislators who passed it say the real extreme agenda is the one the ads push.

"Abortion up to birth isn’t compassionate," says the TV commercial. "It’s way out there."

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) took to the airwaves to campaign against the state law allowing abortions at any stage, right up until childbirth.

"We know that these do happen," said Cathy Blaeser, co-executive director of MCCL. "And we know that late-term abortionists across the country are saying, ‘Come to Minnesota.’"

State statistics show that’s hyperbole. Abortions later in pregnancy do happen in Minnesota, but they’re extremely rare.

Fifteen years of Minnesota statistics are posted to the Minnesota Department of Health website, and they show six abortions past a gestational age of 30 weeks.

So 99.996% of abortions in Minnesota happened before that stage.

"All of them were because there was something found during that pregnancy in a regular prenatal exam that found that that baby was incompatible with life," said Sen. Alice Mann, (DFL)-Bloomington. "That baby, as soon as it was born, would die or was already dying."

Sen. Mann is an emergency room doctor and a Democrat who supported the abortion law passed in 2023.

She says women don’t stay pregnant for several months and then just decide to abort a viable fetus.

In her eyes, the law just removes a stigma and barriers for women already in grief.

"We passed a law that says that you can make your own medical decisions with you and your doctor in your exam room, period," Sen. Mann said.

The law is the most extreme in the country, according to the MCCL ads. That’s subjective, but at the very least you’d have to say it’s a tie.

Minnesota’s law matches those in at least six other states and Washington D.C. MCCL says they support a carve out for cases where the mother’s life is at risk, but the law should be more restrictive.

"It’s way out there," Blaeser said, repeating a line from the commercial. "This is very extreme. It's not what Minnesotans want."

The ads direct people to tell legislators to say no to a constitutional amendment enshrining abortion rights.

Even if the legislature passed a law here, voters would actually have the final say on whether to amend the constitution, which requires more than 50% of all voters in an election to approve. In other words, both ‘no’ votes and blank votes count as ‘no’ votes.