Minnesota Panel OKs Bill to Stop Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 4, 2011   |   11:53AM   |   St. Paul, MN

A committee in the Minnesota Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would prevent taxpayer funds from paying for abortions, as Minnesota has done for decades. The legislation now heads to the full Senate after the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee voted 8-5 on a party-line vote for the bill.

Forced by a state Supreme Court decision years ago to pay for elective abortions, taxpayers in Minnesota were forced to pay for nearly 4,000 abortions in 2009, or about one-third of all abortions done that year. Stats from the Minnesota Department of Human Services show nearly 32 percent (3,933) of all abortions performed in Minnesota in 2009 were paid for by taxpayers, at a cost of $1.58 million.

Republican Sen. Dave Thompson of Lakeville is one of the lawmakers who voted for the bill yesterday, which also designates original jurisdiction with the state Supreme Court on challenges to the bill. The makeup of the court has changed and pro-life advocates are hopeful they won’t find a nonexistent right to taxpayer-funded abortions in the state constitution in a new case.

“The issue is does the Minnesota state Constitution require taxpayers to fund elective abortions,” Thompson said, according to MPR. “That doesn’t require fact finding. That is a legal question that can be handled by the Supreme Court without taking evidence in a district court setting.”

DFL Sen. Ron Latz of St. Louis Park opposed the bill and said he worried about he fiscal impact to the state, which should save money by not paying for women to take the lives of their unborn children.

Nearly all of the numbers are up for taxpayer-funded abortions: Claims increased 4.8 percent over the previous year, total payments rose 5.4 percent, and the average cost per abortion rose to $403. In addition, Minnesota residents paid more than ever for the cost of “treatment of incomplete induced abortions” — a total of $13,791. This amount is expected to continue to increase, according to DHS.

When the new statistics came out about taxpayer funded abortions, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life director Scott Fischbach told LifeNews, “It is time to end abortionists’ money grab at the expense of vulnerable women and their unborn children.”

The Republican-controlled committee also approved a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy because of the pain unborn children feel during abortions. A state House panel approved both bills in March.

Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, is not expected to sign either bill.

Minnesota taxpayers have been required to fund elective abortions since the Minnesota Supreme Court’s 1995 Doe v. Gomez ruling. In that decision, the Court created a state “right” to abortion on demand and obligated all taxpayers to fund abortions.

The new numbers also showed Planned Parenthood posted big gains once again as its abortion center in the Highland neighborhood of St. Paul increased its taxpayer funded abortions by 7 percent in 2009. Planned Parenthood’s abortion marketing efforts to low-income and minority women have yielded a staggering 153 percent increase in its publicly-funded abortions since 2000.

The increase in tax-funded abortions comes even as the number of abortions in the state drops. A July 2010 health department report showed 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.

The latest report on abortion revealed 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. Positive Alternatives is one of several pro-life legislative efforts by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life 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.

“The fact that thousands of pregnant women last year still believed that abortion was their only option underscores the enormous need for women to find alternatives to abortion,” Fischbach said.

“It is crucial that every pregnant woman know that she does not need to have an abortion,” Fischbach said. “There are literally thousands of health care professionals and compassionate volunteers ready to help pregnant women all over Minnesota facing unintended pregnancies.”

H.F. 201 / S.F. 103, authored by Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, and Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, would end this mistreatment of poor women, the killing of unborn children, and forcing taxpayers to fund it.