Bill to license abortion facilities approved by MN House panel
ST. PAUL — State licensing of abortion facilities was approved by the Minnesota House Government Operations and Elections Policy committee today. The measure is strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). 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 as outpatient surgical centers. The bill also authorizes the commissioner to perform inspections of abortion facilities as deemed necessary, with no prior notice required. MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau testified that multiple violations of state regulations have been uncovered at licensed businesses. For example, recent state inspections found 28 violations at a nail salon and half its staff unlicensed. She also said that thousands of complaints are filed each year against licensed nursing homes. An example from another state underscores the necessity of licensing and inspecting Minnesota abortion facilities, Rau argued. "Not very long ago, a Grand Jury report regarding a Pennsylvania abortion facility, the doctor who ran it, and several of his staff, was able to stun our nation—pro-life and pro-choice alike—by shedding light on the unsanitary, illegal and unsafe abortions that were happening at a clinic there," Rau testified. Dr. Gosnell, who ran the facility, and others were found guilty of a variety of charges, and are now in prison. "I will spare the committee details on how Gosnell killed viable babies accidentally born alive, but I will share with you that the District Attorney in Philadelphia referred to the clinic as 'decrepit and unsanitary,' 'staffed … entirely with unlicensed personnel,'" Rau told the committee. "To the best of our knowledge, none of the five abortion facilities in Minnesota come anywhere near the unsanitary, illegal and unsafe conditions that were found at the clinic in Pennsylvania; but we believe the state should act to ensure that such conditions never occur in our state," Rau added. The state's five abortion facilities perform 99 percent of all abortions in Minnesota. In 2015, a total of 9,861 abortions were performed in the state.