Minnesota Senate Democrats on Thursday unsuccessfully tried to pass nine bills on abortion and health care that leaders said had new urgency after the leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Minority Leader Melisa López Franzen, DFL-Edina, said that while her caucus cannot control the Senate's agenda, Thursday's process was also meant to put the Republican majority on the record on an issue expected to loom large in November's elections.
"Their silence speaks volumes, but I will say to them we hear them. We hear Minnesotans, and most importantly Minnesotans hear them, and we will work hard to ensure that everyone knows where they stand," López Franzen said.
Republican senators did not speak out against the legislation as Democrats tried to pull each bill out of committee for consideration. The measures included a bill to codify the right to an abortion, among other reproductive health decisions. One proposal covered access to contraception, and another revived Democrats' push for paid family and medical leave for all Minnesotans.
None of the nine bills received the 41 votes needed to move them out of committee under the Senate's rules. The DFL has only 31 seats, and none of the bills received more than 33 total votes.
But the DFL minority used Thursday as a symbolic gesture to underscore support for reproductive rights and warn against not passing protections in an election year in which suburban women could play key roles in races to decide the governorship and control of the Legislature.
"I think in this case it completely changed the landscape of this election," López Franzen said of the leaked Supreme Court opinion.