ST. PAUL, Minn. – Two abortion-related bills are making their way to DFL Governor Mark Dayton’s desk, but whether or not Dayton will sign the legislation is unclear, despite one of the bills being rewritten to address some of his own concerns.
On Monday, the GOP-held Minnesota House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation pro-life advocates have worked on for several years. HF 809, authored by Rep. Mary Franson (R – Alexandria) and HF 812, authored by Rep. Deb Kiel (R – Crookston).
Franson’s bill would block state funds from being used for abortion by reinstating a 1978 state ban on the practice of providing abortions to women through the state’s Medicaid program. The house approved the measure on a 77-54 bipartisan vote.
According to Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the ban in its Doe V. Gomez decision. MCCL says as a result of that decision, taxpayers now fund 43 percent of all abortions performed in Minnesota, costing taxpayers more than $1 million per year. MCCL says from the time of the court decision until the end of 2015, taxpayers were forced to pay more than $23 million for more than 77,000 abortions.
Kiel’s bill requires facilities that perform ten 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. Kiel’s bill was passed by the House 79-53.
MCCL held a press conference Monday to explain the new language added to Kiel’s bill. The addition is designed to broaden bipartisan support for the legislation.
“The new language of the bill, which now requires abortion facilities to abide by the abortion industry’s own clinical policy standards, addresses objections raised in committee and in the past by Gov. Dayton,” explained MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. “With these changes MCCL is hopeful that Gov. Dayton will sign into law this effort to protect women’s health and lives, and prevent the horrific abortion facility conditions discovered in other states,” Fischbach said.
The Senate versions of the bills are passing through several committees, and if passed by the full Senate, would then be sent to Dayton to sign. Dayton is vocally pro-choice, and his lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, served as a Vice President for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.