Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Senate votes down abortion facility licensing, inspection amendment to HHS omnibus bill

The following news release was issued on April 24, 2015.

ST. PAUL — An amendment aimed to safeguard the health of women in abortion facilities was voted down in the Minnesota Senate today. Advocates for women's safety sought its inclusion in the Senate Health and Human Services omnibus bill. It is strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).

Sponsored by Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, the amendment would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed by the state commissioner of health. It would also authorize inspections of abortion facilities (up to two inspections per year), with no prior notice required.

Abortion centers in Minnesota currently are neither licensed nor inspected by any state agency—even though dangerous conditions and unscrupulous abortionists have been discovered in numerous other states. The proposed legislation would rectify this problem by applying the licensing requirements for outpatient surgical centers to abortion centers.

"Abortion centers perform invasive, outpatient surgery, so it makes no sense that they are exempted from the health and safety standards that apply to other outpatient surgical centers," said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau. "This basic licensing requirement is necessary to ensure that the very unsafe conditions uncovered in other states never happen in Minnesota."

The amendment failed on a 29-32 floor vote. Similar legislation has been approved by several House of Representatives committees and a House floor vote is expected. The licensing requirement would apply to the state's five abortion facilities, which together perform 99 percent of all abortions in Minnesota.

"MCCL urges state legislators to include this much-needed licensing in health care legislation to protect the safety and health of women," Rau added.