TAXPAYER FUNDING OF ABORTION IN MINNESOTA:
A BRIEF HISTORY
Legislature bans public funding of abortion
In 1978, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law to prohibit taxpayer funded abortions for women on Medicaid (256B.0625, Subd. 16). The prohibition included exceptions for "medical necessity" and reported rape and incest. While this law was in effect, Medicaid typically paid for fewer than 20-30 abortions per year.
Court challenge overturns law
In 1994, a national abortion organization challenged the law in Hennepin County. In December 1995, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional, declaring that if the state funded childbirth for women on Medicaid, it must also fund abortion (Doe v. Gomez).
Since that time, both the number and amount spent on taxpayer funded abortions has ballooned. In 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were 4,410 taxpayer funded abortions, costing the state more than $1 million.
The legislative response
Since 1995, numerous bills have been introduced by legislators as a response. Some of these bills have sought to directly challenge the court, either by re-instituting a legislative ban (forcing the court to re-consider the issue) or seeking to pass a constitutional amendment. Here are (not all, but) key actions taken by the Legislature most recently:
2017/2018: The House and Senate passed a ban on taxpayer funded abortion (H.F. 809). It was vetoed by the governor.
2015/2016: The House passed a ban on taxpayer funded abortion as an amendment to the HHS omnibus bill (2015) and supplemental budget bill (2016). The Senate attempted to do the same, but failed.
2013/2014: The House and Senate passed a law to ensure that no insurance sold through MNsure is required to cover abortion services (2013). The House passed a taxpayer funded abortion ban as an amendment to the supplemental budget bill (2014); the Senate attempted to do same, but failed.
2011/2012: The House and Senate passed a ban on taxpayer funded abortion (H.F. 201). It was vetoed by the governor.