Minnesota: Judge Dismisses Lawsuit to Stop Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 6, 2013   |   3:24PM   |   St. Paul, MN

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit designed to stop taxpayer funding of abortions in Minnesota.

From a liberal web site supportive of tax-funded abortions.

The order, issued by District Court Judge Kathleen R. Gearin, found that Minnesota’s case law on this is actually quite strong. In a 1995 lawsuit, Doe v. Gomez, the Minnesota Supreme Court struck down a ban on state funding of abortion, ruling that that so long as Minnesota funded pregnancy care, it could not refuse to fund care related to “therapeutic abortion.”

The plaintiffs, Rev. Brian Walker and his wife Denise Walker, argued that the Minnesota department of health is insufficiently scrutinizing whether taxpayer funding was going to only medically necessary abortions and that the state had illegally paid for more than 37,000 abortions since 1999. Gearin addresses this concern in her ruling, writing that Doe v. Gomez also held that the Minnesota constitution guarantees a right to privacy, and “the difficult decision whether to obtain a therapeutic abortion will not be made by the government, but will be left to the woman and her doctor.”

Rikelman explained, “The claim here was that it was unreasonable for the state to rely on doctors signing documentation saying that they had provided the procedure for medically necessary reasons, but of course states and insurance companies rely on doctors all the time. That’s the entire way the medical system works. We trust doctors to provide accurate information about why they’re providing medical treatment to women.”

Alliance Defending Freedom filed the suit on the Walkers’ behalf, and they still have the prerogative to appeal the decision. Rikelman said she believes it’s likely they will. As a group with a mission to make all abortion illegal, “it seems hard to imagine that they will give up so quickly,” she said.

Since a Dec. 15, 1995, Minnesota Supreme Court ruling required taxpayers to fund abortions, more than 58,000 unborn babies have been killed in Minnesota with taxpayer funds, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS). The Doe v. Gomez ruling established the most extreme abortion-on-demand policy in the nation.

“The Doe v. Gomez ruling by a handful of activist judges has been disastrous for Minnesota women and their babies,” said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). “On this 17th anniversary of the decision, Minnesotans continue to believe it is not the mission of the state to abort thousands of innocent unborn children each year, yet that is exactly what is happening under this radical ruling.”

The Supreme Court’s Doe v. Gomez decision established a new state constitutional “right” to abortion on demand. 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 to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Doe v. Gomez allows abortions for reasons such as “stress” or “discomfort.” It forbids the state to “interfere” in any way with a woman’s “decision making” regarding abortion.

Doe v. Gomez also obligates the state—and thus, taxpayers—to pay for abortions, something not required by the U.S. Supreme Court. From June 1994 (under an earlier decision) through 2010, state taxpayers paid more than $18.6 million for 58,559 abortions, according to MDHS. In 2010 alone (the most recent statistics available), state taxpayers paid $1.4 million for 3,757 abortions (MDHS). The state does not report how many women have been hurt or killed from these abortions.



While the total number of abortions in the state is declining gradually, taxpayer funding of elective abortions has risen nearly every year since 1995. Minnesota taxpayers now pay for 34 percent of all abortions performed in the state.

“This is not the will of the majority of Minnesotans, who oppose abortion on demand, and it is not the function of state government to fund the destruction of its most powerless, innocent citizens,” Fischbach said. “The Court took away the people’s ability to decide whether they want abortion on demand in the state and whether they should be required to pay for others’ elective abortions. It’s time for change in Minnesota.”