by Steven Ertelt
March 6, 2006
St. Paul, MN (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life group in Minnesota says it’s prepared to lead the charge against a key state Supreme Court decision forcing the state’s taxpayers to foot the bill for abortions for poor women.
The state Supreme Court in a 1995 case called Doe v. Gomez required the state’s health department to pay for abortions, despite lawmakers voting to prohibit that from occurring in virtually all situations.
Scott Fischbach, the director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, called the case his state’s Roe v. Wade and told the Associated Press that working to overturn the decision will be his group’s next main focus.
"What they did in Doe v. Gomez was found an absolute right to abortion in the Minnesota Constitution, and that needs to be addressed," he said.
The pro-life organization could propose a state constitutional amendment to put before the voters but Fischbach says it would require a very expensive public campaign to pass the initiative.
Instead the organization is seeking legislative alternatives to counteract the decision.
The measure is expected to be introduced this week and, if approved, it would go straight to the state Supreme Court if abortion advocates challenge it with a lawsuit.
Fischbach hopes there have been enough changes on the state’s top court to give pro-life advocates a chance at overturning the decision. In 1995, the court voted 5-1 in favor of forcing Minnesota to pay for abortions and just two members are left from that court’s makeup.
Justices Alan Page and Paul Anderson, who both supported the abortion payments, are still on the court.
The decision, which also ruled that the privacy clause in the state constitution should be misused to protect a so-called right to abortion, would need to be overturned if Minnesota wants to prohibit abortions if Roe is ever reversed.
Planned Parenthood Minnesota spokesman Tim Stanley told the Associated Press the abortion business would almost assuredly file a lawsuit against the bill should the state legislature sign off on it. He claimed it is still unconstitutional.
Karen Smigielski, a spokeswoman for the Human Services Department, told the Associated Press that the state paid for 3,950 abortions in 2004 and spent $1.2 million paying for abortions in 2003.
Related web sites:
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life – https://www.mccl.org