By Paul Stark, Communications Director, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL)
On Tuesday a law went into effect hiding from the public the fate of infants who survive abortion. Under the new version of Minnesota’s abortion reporting law, practitioners of abortion will no longer report when abortions result in live births and what measures are taken to care for such infants. The change comes as the legislature has also repealed a guarantee that born-alive infants receive appropriate lifesaving care.
“Minnesota lawmakers have revoked basic protection for newborn babies, and now the fate of newborns who survive abortion will be hidden from the public,” said MCCL Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. “Why do lawmakers want to keep us in the dark? This appalling extremism is not what Minnesotans asked for. Our elected officials must restore protection for newborns who are at risk.”
The weakened version of Minnesota’s abortion reporting law, which took effect Aug. 1, repeals the requirement that practitioners report “whether the abortion resulted in a born alive infant,” “any medical actions taken to preserve the life of the born alive infant,” “whether the born alive infant survived,” and “the status of the born alive infant, should the infant survive, if known.”
In recent years, five born-alive infants were reported in 2015, five in 2016, three in 2017, three in 2018, three in 2019, and five in 2021, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. This information will no longer be available.
Lawmakers this year also repealed Minnesota’s requirement that reasonable measures be taken to “preserve the life and health” of born-alive infants, replacing it with a requirement for “care,”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In support of repealing the protection for newborns, some lawmakers falsely claimed that the repealed language required inappropriate or futile attempts to save the infants’ lives. Instead, the repealed law simply required “reasonable measures consistent with good medical practice.”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.