By Paul Stark
ST. PAUL — On Monday the Minnesota legislature approved an Omnibus health bill that repeals a bipartisan measure protecting newborns and a bipartisan program supporting pregnant women who want to carry their babies to term. It also rescinds a number of longstanding laws surrounding abortion. Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign the wide-ranging bill, which the House and Senate passed along narrow party lines, into law.
“First Gov. Walz and DFL majorities enacted abortion-up-to-birth, a policy at odds with the vast majority of the world,” said MCCL Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. “Now, somehow, they have gone even further. They have revoked a law that requires lifesaving care for newborns. And they have wiped out the Positive Alternatives program that supports pregnant women in difficult circumstances. Babies and women are both harmed by this sweeping extremism.”
The Omnibus bill, SF 2995, was largely crafted behind closed doors without input from Republicans on the conference committee. The bill strips out Minnesota’s existing requirement that reasonable measures be taken to “preserve the life and health” of born-alive infants, replacing it with a requirement for “care,” which the bill’s House author, Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), has described as mere “comfort” care. Under the new language, an infant could be denied lifesaving care and allowed to die.
In support of repealing the protection for newborns, some lawmakers falsely claimed that the repealed language required inappropriate or futile attempts to save the infants’ lives. Instead, the repealed law simply required “reasonable measures consistent with good medical practice.”
Disabled babies, whose lives are often devalued, could be especially at risk from the denial of this basic protection.
SF 2995 also does the following:
- repeals the Positive Alternatives Act that has provided practical assistance and support for tens of thousands of pregnant women and new mothers in communities across Minnesota
- repeals parts of Minnesota’s abortion reporting law, including the requirement that abortion practitioners report cases in which infants survive abortion and whether those infants receive care; five such cases were reported in 2021 alone
- increases reimbursement rates for tax-funded abortions
- repeals several other longstanding laws surrounding abortion, including the Woman’s Right to Know law ensuring informed consent prior to abortion
“The legislature is funding the abortion industry while defunding alternatives to abortion,” said Blaeser. “They are depriving born-alive infants of the right to lifesaving care while shielding such cases from the public. This is not what Minnesotans want. This is not the kind of place Minnesota desires to be.”