Next on the Minnesota DFL’s agenda is HF 91/SF70, which would essentially repeal what remains of Minnesota’s regulations on the abortion industry, including medical protections for infants who survive abortions and a ban on using public funds for the procedure under MinnesotaCare.
Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, said her bill seeks to remove “from the statute books many outdated, unused and unconstitutional laws that infringe on the right to have an abortion in one way or another.”
According to Liebling, pro-life politicians have “used shaming and inflammatory rhetoric to convince Minnesotans that politicians should be managing abortion access.”
“This constant attack on Minnesotans’ right to access abortion is evident throughout our statutes,” she said.
One of the more “reckless” elements of the bill is its attempt to repeal reporting requirements, according to Maggee Hangge, a policy associate with the Minnesota Catholic Conference.
The Minnesota Department of Health is required to issue a yearly public report of induced abortion statistics for the previous calendar year. These reports are compiled using data submitted by doctors and facilities that perform abortions.
“These reports share valuable data, from which all Minnesotans benefit,” Hangge told a House committee last week. “With that knowledge, we can address the economic and racial disparities for pregnant Minnesotans.”
“Repealing the abortion reporting requirement will also be detrimental to women who seek an abortion, since without that in place, there would be no accountability for the abortion provider,” she added.
Some of the provisions that the bill seeks to repeal, such as a parental notification requirement, were ruled unconstitutional last summer by a Ramsey County judge, but that ruling is currently under appeal.
Liebling admitted during her testimony that the penalties for failing to abide by the reporting requirement were ruled unconstitutional, but not the requirement itself.
“We feel that it is important to repeal these requirements because they’ve been in place 25 years and they are a burden and they intrude on the privacy of a person who is having an abortion. They force the physician to go through a bunch of questions, to submit a bunch of data,” she said.
Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, pointed out that the Minnesota Legislature is currently advancing a bill that would require record-keeping on maternal mortality.
“It is not uncommon to collect data to inform decisions on health care,” she said. “Data informs public policy.”
Democrats in the Senate rejected amendments to their Protect Reproductive Options Act that would have prohibited third-trimester and partial-birth abortions. They argued that these procedures rarely happen, but under HF 91/SF70, there would no longer be any way of knowing.
At the same time, they want to strike from state statute a prohibition on using public funds for abortion coverage under MinnesotaCare.
“The expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion is a grave insult to the many Minnesotans who are opposed to the practice of abortion, and does not represent a One Minnesota approach,” Hangge said. “This looks more like retribution against political opponents on behalf of abortion providers.”