Minnesota's largest group opposing abortion rights launched its first television ad Wednesday against a ballot initiative that could enshrine abortion protections into the state's Constitution.

The seven-figure statewide ad buy from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) is a preview of what could be a multimillion-dollar campaign both for and against abortion rights, similar to expensive campaigns that have played out in states such as Ohio, where a ballot initiative campaign attracted a combined $70 million in spending last year.

First, the amendment needs to pass the Minnesota House and Senate.

Democrats narrowly in control of the Legislature have been negotiating for months over the language of the Equal Rights Amendment. The state Senate passed a version of the amendment last spring that would let voters decide on a constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights to people no matter someone's "race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin."

But Democrats in the House didn't think the language went far enough to explicitly spell out protections for gender identity and reproductive rights and didn't vote on the measure last year. Lawmakers are facing a May 20 deadline to adjourn the regular session.

"If we're going through the process in the state of Minnesota of adding an amendment to our Constitution, it needs to have some legal impact," DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman said Thursday.

Legislators and groups supporting the amendment have been trying to agree to language that can pass both the House and the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats by a single vote. The House wants to put the amendment on the ballot in 2026, while the Senate's amendment would go before voters this fall.

The House also wants to add detail to the amendment about gender identity and abortion protections that could withstand strict legal scrutiny, said Rep. Kaohly Vang Her, DFL-St. Paul, who is sponsoring the measure in the House.

MCCL, the state's oldest and largest organization opposing abortion rights, isn't waiting for Democrats to strike a deal.

Their television, radio and digital ad buy features a conversation between two women about Minnesota's abortion law and the push to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. The ad asks viewers to contact their legislators.

"MCCL is going to make Minnesotans very aware of what some groups and lawmakers are trying to do," said MCCL Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. "This proposed amendment is just too extreme for our state."

MCCL is expected to put out a second ad in early May.