Family leave, child care, gun violence and public education are also on her agenda
Minnesota now has one of the strongest and most comprehensive reproductive protection laws in the nation, says Sen. Erin Quade (DFL). The first-term state senator from Apple Valley was one of the co-authors of the Protect Reproductive Options Act (PRO Act), signed into law late last month by Gov. Tim Walz.
“I was proud to cast my vote,” said Maye Quade in a January 28 statement following the passage of the PRO Act. “Our state is one step closer to providing ironclad protections for abortion access, contraception, fertility services, and other important forms of reproductive health.”
Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the Constitutional right to abortion. After the ruling, the Center for Reproductive Rights said that the Court’s decision would likely lead to many state legislatures around the country pushing for stronger restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. At the time, the national organization predicted that at least half of all U.S. states would “immediately take action to ban abortion outright.”
With the PRO Act, Minnesota stands out among its neighboring states in that it has not banned abortions or stopped providing reproductive care. Senator Maye Quade recently talked to the MSR about the issue.
“We passed the PRO Act because we know that Minnesota has the ability to make laws protecting Minnesota’s right to reproductive freedom,” she said.
Before entering politics and after graduating from the University of St. Thomas, Maye Quade was a community organizer in Apple Valley. As a staffer for then-U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, she was encouraged to run for elected office.
In 2016, the DFLer first was elected to the Minnesota House, then successfully ran and was elected to the senate in 2022. Among her legislative concerns are reproductive health, paid family leave, expanding access to affordable child care, eliminating gun violence, and fully funding public education.
Maye Quade was one of three Black women elected to the Minnesota senate last year, a first in the history of the legislature. Prior to that, there were no Black women in the Senate. Clare Oumou Verbeten and Zaynab Mohamed—also DFLers—are the other two first-term senators.
When the Minnesota legislature convened in January, there were 35 lawmakers of color—all but five Democrats—in both state houses. Along with the governor’s office, all statewide branches are under DFL control for the first time in eight years.
“I’m honored and proud to be part of that group, particularly with my sisters Clare and Zaynab,” declared Maye Quade. “We are history makers.”
Maye Quade is also the chief author of a bill that would amend and repeal specific abortion restrictions in state statutes that were deemed unconstitutional in three separate Minnesota court decisions: Doe v. Gomez, Hodgson v. Lawson, and Doe v. Minnesota. The bill is SF70, the Reproductive Freedom Codification Act (RFCA).
She is also a co-author of the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act (RFDA), SF 165, which if passed would protect patients and providers of reproductive health services, including abortions, from out-of-state prosecution. The purpose of both bills is to protect, not restrict “people’s reproductive decision-making,” said Maye Quade.
Maye Quade believes that the Minnesota legislature’s new members will make a difference in governance going forward. “It really does matter having our diverse stories and experiences at the table where we’re making decisions when we’re spending money and we’re building budgets.
“You’ve seen some incredible legislation in the first part of this session, and it is in part because of the historic diversity in the legislature.”
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