by Steven Ertelt
April 28, 2006
St. Paul, MN (LifeNews.com) — The Minnesota state House easily overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban using state taxpayer funds to pay for abortions. The measure is designed to overturn a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling forcing the state’s taxpayers to foot the bill for abortions for poor women.
House lawmakers signed off on the measure by an 81-50 vote. Sponsored by Rep. Laura Brod, a Republican, it would require the state’s high court to re-examine its 1995 decision in Doe v. Gomez.
"I know many taxpayers in my district and throughout Minnesota would be very concerned that their hard-earned tax dollars are being used to fund abortions in this state," Brod said, according to an AP report.
Pro-life groups are hopeful that the state’s high court would reverse its decision because five of the seven justices who participated in the 1995 case are new.
Abortion advocates told AP they opposed the bill, claiming it’s a measure designed to lead to a total ban on abortions in the state.
"This is the most sweeping and momentous anti-abortion bill in the history of the state," Tim Stanley, senior director of government and public affairs for Planned Parenthood, said.
The measure also contains other pro-life provisions that would provide for better tracking of girls that get abortions through a judicial bypass without telling their parents and ensure that abortion practitioners have admitting privileges at a local hospital in case of a botched abortion that requires emergency medical attention.
Scott Fischbach, the director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, which is promoting the pro-life bill, told AP that the measure may have a tougher time in the Senate. Abortion advocates control the committees that the bill may be assigned to, though he said the measure could be added to other legislation.
"The Senate is where our legislation runs into trouble," Fischbach said.
"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, in explaining the need for the bill.
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.
The state’s high court decided the Gomez case 5-1 and Justices Alan Page and Paul Anderson, who both supported the abortion payments, are still on the court.
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.
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