MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Senate passed two bills that restrict abortion and sent them to the governor Thursday — sparking protest at the State Capitol.
The Republican-controlled Senate approved the measures despite a vow by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to veto both of them.
Republicans made these anti-abortion bills a priority this year. One of them bans public funding for abortions, while the other imposes strict regulations on clinics performing the procedure.
Dozens of abortion rights supporters crowded the hallways outside the Senate chamber ahead of the vote. They are denouncing lawmakers who they say are discriminating against poor women.
A Minnesota court ordered a ban on using taxpayer funds for low-income women seeking abortions back in 1992.
“It’s real. This is the taking of life, and it is real,” said. Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake. “To be forced to pay for it through taxpayer dollars? It’s extremely bothersome and unjust.”
In 2015, the Department of Human Services reported that of the 9,861 abortions performed in Minnesota, more than 4,267 went to women on public assistance.
But critics say banning public funding is not only discriminatory, it’s unconstitutional.
“I don’t believe that politicians should be able to deny a women’s health coverage just because she’s poor,” said Sen. Sandy Pappas DFL-St. Paul.
The Senate also passed a measure regulating clinics like Planned Parenthood that perform abortions.
Supporters call it a safety issue.
“And whether you believe in abortion or don’t believe in abortion, a woman when she makes that very personal choice should be safe,” said Sen. Carrie Ruud, R -Breezy Point.
But opponents say no other kind of health facility is targeted.
“From colonoscopies to dental surgeries to liposuction, [they] are exempt from this type of licensure requirement, and often have higher rates of complications,” said Sen. Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury.
The anti-abortion bills now go to Dayton, who is a long-time supporter of abortion rights.
He has said it for weeks, and told WCCO again Thursday the he will veto both measures when they hit his desk.
[graphiq id=”cVkBmsFSYbH” title=”Abortion Rate in Minnesota” width=”600″ height=”513″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/cVkBmsFSYbH” ]