By Bill Poehler
ST. PAUL — Two key pro-life measures affirming licensing and funding standards have been approved by the Minnesota House of Representatives . Both measures have the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).
H.F. 809 (S.F. 702), authored by Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, would prohibit state funds from being used for abortion. The measure was approved on a 77-54 bipartisan vote. The legislation would conform Minnesota’s policy on taxpayer funded abortion with that of the federal government by reinstating a 1978 state ban on the practice of providing free abortions to women on the state’s Medicaid program, Medical Assistance (MA).
In its 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned that law and required taxpayers to fund abortions. As a result, taxpayers now fund 43 percent of all abortions performed in Minnesota at a cost of more than $1 million per year. From the time of the court decision until the end of 2015, taxpayers were forced to pay in excess of $23 million for more than 77,000 abortions.
“Minnesota has one of the nation’s most extreme state policies regarding abortion,” said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau, adding that the majority of citizens do not support the ruling. “A 2015 poll found 68 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion—this includes 69 percent of women and 71 percent of millennials.”
Under H.F. 809, Minnesota citizens would no longer be forced to continue to fund an act which they do not support and which does not further the public good—and do so at a rate of more than 10 times every day, weekends included. This commonsense legislation protects and respects the citizens of the state.
H.F. 812 (S.F. 704), authored by Rep. Deb Kiel, R-Crookston, would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed by the state commissioner of health. The bill also authorizes the commissioner to perform inspections of abortion facilities. The bill was approved, 79-53.
The bill was amended to require abortion facilities to follow their own industry standards and to ensure abortion facilities abide by those standards to be eligible for state licensure. “This new language satisfies the concerns raised by lawmakers and Gov. Dayton, and MCCL is pleased to see House members support this effort intended to protect women’s health and lives,” Rau added.
The requirement would apply to the state’s five abortion facilities, which together perform 99 percent of all abortions in Minnesota. In 2015, a total of 9,861 abortions were performed in the state.
The licensing bill passed in its final Senate committee last week. A full Senate vote on both bills expected this week.