Gov. Dayton vetoes mainstream pro-life bills to ban tax-funded abortion, license abortion facilities
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton today vetoed mainstream pro-life measures that would affirm licensing and funding standards approved by the Minnesota Legislature. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state's oldest and largest pro-life organization, objected to the governor's actions. "Once again Gov. Dayton has bowed to a handful of abortion industry elites rather than thoughtfully considering the content of pro-life bills," said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau. "By the stroke of his pen the governor has demonstrated profound disrespect for women and taxpayers—nearly all Minnesotans, in fact." Both stand-alone bills were passed in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives with bipartisan support, despite the governor's threats to veto them. He rejected similar legislation passed in 2011 and 2012. H.F. 809, authored by Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, and Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, 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). Due to the Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision, taxpayers now fund 43 percent of all abortions at a cost of more than $1 million per year. From the time of the court decision until the end of 2015, taxpayers were forced to pay in excess of $23 million for more than 77,000 abortions. "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," Rau said. A 2015 poll found 68 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 69 percent of women and 71 percent of millennials. H.F. 812, authored by Rep. Deb Kiel, R-Crookston, and Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, 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. The bill was amended to require abortion facilities to follow their own industry standards and to ensure facilities abide by those standards to be eligible for state licensure. "Gov. Dayton has dismissed the abortion industry's own safety requirements, shielding the state's abortion facilities from any oversight whatsoever," Rau added. "He is willing to risk women’s health and safety in order to protect the abortion industry."