House committee approves licensing of abortion centers

MCCL-backed bill would bring abortion facilities in line with similar surgical centers

MCCL's Andrea Rau testifies at a Feb. 27 hearing

ST. PAUL — Legislation to license abortion facilities in order to ensure women’s safety was approved today on a vote of 8-4 by the House Government Operations and Elections Committee. The bill has the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state’s oldest and largest pro-life organization.

H.F. 2340 (S.F. 1921), authored by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed. The state commissioner of health would establish rules necessary for licensure. The bill also authorizes the commissioner to perform inspections of abortion facilities as deemed necessary, with no prior notice required.

“The purpose of all government regulation is to protect the public by enforcing minimum standards,” said MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau. “This legislation asks the Department of Health to determine specifically what these standards would be.”

Minnesota licenses outpatient surgical centers, tattoo and body piercing parlors, nursing homes and veterinary medicine facilities, but not abortion providers, even though abortion is one of the most common medical procedures in the state. Health dangers have been uncovered at unlicensed abortion centers in cities outside Minnesota in recent years.

Based on data from 2010, the legislation would affect a maximum of seven different facilities, which between them perform more than 98 percent of the more than 11,000 abortions done each year in Minnesota