DFL Sen. Matt Klein, who vowed to “safeguard against” late-term elective abortions, attempted to explain to his constituents during a town hall Sunday why he voted for the PRO Act.
He said that he has received a lot of criticism for his vote in favor of the bill, which protects the right of “every individual,” including minors, to access “reproductive health care” services, including abortion, contraception, and sterilization. With zero explicit guardrails, the bill will allow for abortions at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason, Republicans argued.
Klein voted against dozens of GOP amendments to the bill, including a ban on partial birth abortions and abortions after 32 or 36 weeks.
“The bill does not speak to allowing abortions in the third trimester, an exceptionally rare occurrence in the state of Minnesota which occurs only in dire circumstances. I do not personally support late-term elective abortion and will work to ensure we safeguard against that practice,” Klein said prior to his vote in favor of the PRO Act, according to an email obtained by Alpha News.
During the town hall, Klein said he stands by his vote for the PRO Act. He maintained that he still does not support late-term elective abortions.
“Third-trimester abortions in the state of Minnesota are incredibly rare and they occur only in circumstances of significant medical distress for the mother or for the child,” Klein said, according to a video from the town hall posted online.
“They are not provided by professional physicians because of ethical concerns, professional concerns, and licensure concerns,” he continued. “It is important, though, that we maintain that option for the medical community and for patients when those circumstances arise.”
The Democrat from Mendota Heights said he believes it is the wrong approach “for the legislature to step in and try to legislate what needs to be decided in very difficult and personal circumstances.”
One constituent said that if third-trimester abortions are truly only for medical emergencies, this should be stipulated in the language of the bill.
“I’m convinced that there are adequate protections against what you are describing, which is just willy nilly, I’m 38 weeks and I’d like to have an abortion,” Klein responded. “There’s adequate protections in sort of medical practice, medical ethics and in women’s sort of autonomy. So I’m satisfied with that and I think the legislature is the wrong way to adjudicate this question.”
“But you voted down every amendment that would protect that … you voted down every amendment trying to protect life,” another constituent responded.
“I would do it again because the legislature is not the place to answer those questions,” Klein responded.
Another constituent spoke up, saying that her understanding of the bill was abortions were made legal at any time and for any reason. “Can you clarify, where is the protection for that viable baby?” she asked.
“In medical practice, in medical professional standards,” Klein reiterated.
Other abortion-related bills are being heard in the Minnesota Legislature which would remove most restrictions placed on abortion facilities, including reporting requirements.