New regulations of pet breeders go into effect; governor previously vetoed abortion center licensing
ST. PAUL — A measure to license and inspect commercial dog and cat breeders—passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this year—went into effect on July 1. The new regulations throw into sharp relief Dayton's refusal to accept any state licensing or inspection of abortion facilities, which perform thousands of surgical procedures on Minnesota women each year.
"Gov. Dayton wants to safeguard the well-being of pets, and that is admirable," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "But his concern evidently does not extend to the human beings undergoing surgery in unlicensed and uninspected abortion centers."
The new law will impose health standards and require commercial breeding facilities to be licensed by the Board of Animal Health. "The humane and decent treatment of these innocent creatures is no longer an unwritten expectation—it is the law," said Dayton in a press release.
But Minnesota's abortion centers are neither licensed nor inspected by the Department of Health. In 2012 the Legislature passed a bill to license abortion facilities in the same way as other outpatient surgical centers, and to allow such facilities to be inspected. Dayton vetoed the bill.
Poor health conditions and dangerous practices have been uncovered in abortion centers in numerous other states. The horrific Philadelphia clinic of Kermit Gosnell, now serving life in prison, has especially drawn nationwide attention; the grand jury report in that case specifically blamed the lack of state oversight and called for abortion centers to be licensed as ambulatory surgical facilities. "There is no justification for denying abortion patients the protections available to every other patient of an ambulatory surgical facility," the grand jury noted, "and no reason to exempt abortion clinics from meeting these standards."
Dayton, however, favors denying women those protections and exempting abortion centers from the health standards that all other outpatient surgical facilities must meet. "The governor's advocacy for pet breeding regulations makes him more supportive of the welfare of animals than he is of the welfare of women who are seeking abortions," Fischbach observed. "That should be deeply troubling, because people matter more than animals."
"The state has a clear interest in ensuring at least minimal health and safety standards for women," Fischbach concluded. "This is common sense, regardless of one’s position on abortion. Yet Gov. Dayton seems more committed to toeing the abortion industry line and preserving unfettered abortion than to protecting women."