ST. PAUL — Bills to license abortion facilities and end taxpayer funding of abortion passed a committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives on Wednesday. Both protective measures are strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).
H.F. 606, authored by Rep. Debra Kiel, R-Crookston, passed through the Health and Human Services Reform committee on a 12-9 vote. The legislation would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed by the Department of Health. The bill also authorizes inspections of abortion facilities, with no prior notice required.
"Minnesota abortion facilities act like outpatient surgical centers, and it is time they are regulated like them," said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau in her testimony before the committee. Currently, Minnesota's abortion centers are neither licensed nor inspected by any state agency—even though dangerous abortion center conditions have been discovered in numerous other states.
The licensing requirement would apply to the state's five abortion facilities, which together perform 99 percent of all abortions in Minnesota. Two amendments that would have hindered the legislation were defeated.
The committee also voted 12-8 to approve H.F. 607, authored by Rep. Tama Theis, R-St. Cloud, which would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion. The state has paid for elective abortions performed on low-income women since the Minnesota Supreme Court's 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision.
"While the vast majority of state money is arguably used to build a better life for Minnesotans, some tax dollars help to end the lives of Minnesotans," noted Rau. "Unless we wish to force citizens to fund an act which they do not support and which doesn't further the public good—and do it at a rate of roughly 10 times every day, weekends included—we should all be supporting this common-sense legislation."
Abortions funded by taxpayers have increased to 34.8 percent of all abortions performed in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. In 2012, taxpayers paid more than $822,000 for 3,571 abortions. Since the Doe v. Gomez decision, the state has paid $20 million to the abortion industry for more than 65,000 abortions.
A third pro-life bill, H.F. 1047, authored by Rep. Abigail Whelan, R-Anoka, and supported by MCCL, was approved by the committee on a voice vote. It would clarify and strengthen Minnesota's existing law protecting babies who are born alive as a result of abortion. A similar federal law was passed by the U.S. House on a voice vote and by the Senate with unanimous consent in 2002.