Two pro-life measures approved by House HHS Finance committee
ST. PAUL — Two key pro-life measures affirming licensing and funding standards were approved by the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Finance committee Thursday. 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 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 nearly $1 million per year. From the time of the court decision until the end of 2014, taxpayers were forced to pay in excess of $22 million for more than 73,000 abortions. "Minnesota has one of the nation's most extreme state policies regarding abortion," MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau testified, 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 as deemed necessary, with no prior notice required. Rau told the committee that the state cannot rely upon abortion recipients to expose problems at abortion facilities. "Very much like others who receive care at an outpatient surgical center, abortion facility patients typically have a one-day relationship with the facility. They go for their procedure, and don’t plan to go back." 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.