Senate votes against women’s safety, defeats Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life-backed amendment

Abortion facilities’ special exemption from licensure protected

MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau

ST. PAUL — State senators Thursday voted down an amendment that would protect women entering abortion facilities. The measure was part of H.F. 1233, the $11.3 billion omnibus health and human services budget bill the Senate passed late Thursday evening.

“This is a sad day for the women of Minnesota,” said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau. “The abortion industry has always lobbied in its own best interests, and the majority of state senators have responded by extending special privileges to abortion facilities at the expense of women’s safety.”

Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, took up the issue of licensing abortion facilities by offering an amendment that contains the language of S.F. 752. The amendment requires that abortion facilities be licensed in the same manner as outpatient surgical centers, and also allows for up to two inspections per year.

Unlike the state’s other outpatient surgical centers, surgical abortion facilities currently are neither licensed nor inspected. The Fischbach amendment would ensure that abortion facilities are accountable to the Minnesota Department of Health by closing the existing loophole in the licensing law.

The bill would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed by the state. The licensing bill would apply to the state’s five abortion facilities, which together perform the vast majority of all abortions in Minnesota. In 2011, a total of 11,071 abortions were performed in the state.

Thursday’s vote occurred in the midst of the lengthy trial of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist accused of several counts of murder at his filthy facility. Employees have testified to a wide range of dangerous and illegal conditions at Gosnell’s abortion facility. Women allegedly were injured, illegally drugged and contracted STDs over a period of decades due to the lack of inspections.

The amendment was voted down on a vote of 30-35.

“This common-sense legislation is necessary to ensure the safety of women,” Rau added. “There is no reason for abortion facilities to be given special exemption from licensing that governs other outpatient surgical centers in the state.”