Minnesota Lawmakers Work on Bill to Stop Tax-Funded Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 25, 2011   |   12:38PM   |   St. Paul, MN

Minnesota lawmakers are working on legislation that would counteract a state Supreme Court decision forcing state residents to pay for elective abortions with taxpayer funds. Taxpayer funded abortions would be banned under legislation introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate on Monday.

Minnesota taxpayers are forced to pay more than $1.5 million per year to fund elective abortions. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, taxpayers paid $1,505,862 to the abortion industry for abortions in 2008, the latest year in which figures are available. Those funds paid for 3,754 abortions, 99 percent of which were elective.

They paid more for more abortions in 2006 and 2007 but the totals dropped as abortions declined in the state thanks to the Positive Alternatives program connecting women with abortion alternatives. Taxpayers paid for 29 percent of all abortions performed in the state in 2008 and have paid more than $15 million for 50,000 abortions.

“The killing of human beings in the womb is a great evil,” said Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the statewide pro-life group. “To force citizens who oppose abortion to pay for it only multiplies the wrong being done.”

The taxpayer funding of abortions is a result of a state Supreme Court decision that has tied the hands of state officials.

“The Doe v. Gomez ruling by a handful of extremist judges has been disastrous for Minnesota women and their babies,” Fischbach told LifeNews.com.

The Supreme Court’s Doe v. Gomez decision established a new state constitutional “right” to abortion in any situation at any point in pregnancy. This supposed right would remain protected by the state Constitution even if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion in the United States, were overturned by the Supreme Court.

Doe v. Gomez allows abortions for reasons such as “stress” or “discomfort,” Fischbach explains, and forbids the state to “interfere” in any way with a woman’s “decision-making” about abortion. The decision also obligates the state and its citizens to pay for abortions, something not required by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Despite the state requirement, most Minnesota citizens do not believe that they should be forced to pay for elective abortions, Fischbach explains. Efforts to ban taxpayer funded abortions have had broad support throughout the state and across party lines for many years, but legislation has been repeatedly denied hearings by pro-abortion leadership in both the House and Senate.

“Like most Americans, most Minnesotans oppose taxpayer funded abortions, including many who consider themselves ‘pro-choice,'” Fischbach said. “A ban is long overdue. MCCL urges lawmakers to right this wrong and vote with the will of the citizens of Minnesota to end taxpayer funded abortions.”

Rep. Peggy Scott, a Republican from Andover, is the sponsor of the House measure, H.F. 201, while Assistant Majority Leader Dave Thompson, a Lakeville republican, is behind the companion Senate bill, S.F. 103.

Despite the increase in tax-funded abortions, MCCL and pro-life Governor Tim Pawlenty have been successful in reducing the number of abortions statewide.

The latest report on abortion issued by the Minnesota Department of Health reveals abortions have fallen for the third straight year and the decrease is part of a three-year trend of fewer abortions statewide since the Positive Alternatives program has funded efforts to help pregnant women in need.  [related]

The annual Abortion Report shows abortion businesses in the state reported a total of 12,388 abortions in 2009 compared with 12,948 the previous year. The 2009 total is the lowest number on record since 1975, showing a historic drop.

Positive Alternatives is one of several pro-life legislative efforts by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) to offer women life-affirming alternatives to abortion and to significantly reduce the number of unborn babies aborted each year.

MCCL indicates a MDH report showed that more than 12,000 women statewide were helped through the Positive Alternatives program in its first two years and another 6,000 women received help in the program’s third year.