Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton today vetoed a bill allowing the state health department to inspect abortion facilities and require them to be licensed with the state to ensure they are not putting women’s health at risk.
Similar bills in other states have allowed health departments to close down abortion centers that can’t manage to follow the basic health and safety laws legitimate medical centers are expected to follow.
The vote on the measure seeking women’s safety followed its approval by several committees and the bill has the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). S.F. 1921 (H.F. 2340), authored by Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan, would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed. The legislation would apply licensing requirements of outpatient surgical centers to abortion providers. The bill also authorizes the state commissioner of health to perform inspections of abortion facilities, with no prior notice required.
“This veto highlights Gov. Dayton’s commitment to protecting the abortion industry, even when it results in putting women’s health at risk,” said Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Executive Director Scott Fischbach. “Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures in Minnesota, and there is no way for women to know if they are going to be in a safe or clean facility.”
“Women need to know that the Department of Health has zero oversight of abortion facilities and cannot ensure their safety, because Gov. Dayton has forbidden it,” Fischbach continued.
Fischbach said abortion facilities have been granted special exemption from licensing that governs other outpatient surgical centers in the state. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU testified against the bill in committee hearings, arguing that abortion facilities should remain unlicensed and uninspected. However, state lawmakers agreed that this exemption cannot be justified when it comes to safeguarding women, he added.
In a letter to Dayton after the bill was approved by the Legislature, Robling defended the requirements as reasonable and sensible.
“Prior to the legalization of abortion in 1973, supporters of abortion often argued that the procedure should be brought out of the back rooms in order to protect the well-being of women. Without state licensing and inspections, there is no guarantee that women’s health is being protected,” they wrote. “This proposed regulation is to provide protection before a dangerous situation develops.”
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The need for the measure was brought to light by filthy conditions found at an abortion facility in Pennsylvania, which did not license or inspect abortion facilities. Several women died, others contracted venereal diseases from unsanitary equipment, and babies born alive were killed by cutting their spinal cords. Once discovered, the facility was called a “house of horrors” by grand jury investigators. S.F. 1921 would protect women from such dangers.
The requirement would apply to the state’s seven abortion facilities, which together perform more than 98 percent of all abortions in Minnesota. In 2010, a total of 11,505 abortions were performed in the state.
Planned Parenthood is the state’s largest abortion company. In 2010, it performed more than 4,000 abortions, or more than 75 per week. Last month an ambulance was called to transport someone from Planned Parenthood’s new St. Paul abortion facility, bringing to light the need for inspection and licensing of such facilities.
ACTION: Contact the governor to complain at https://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/