The author of a bill that would create a “fundamental right” to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy refused to state when she thinks an unborn baby becomes a human person.
Minnesota Democrats are expediting their Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act through the Minnesota Legislature, emboldened by an election victory that saw them recapture the Senate and take full control of state government.
As the bill makes its way through the committee process, Democrats have already rejected amendments that would: protect babies who survive abortions, ban partial-birth abortions, prohibit third-trimester abortions when the baby can feel pain, and require late-term abortions to be performed in a hospital.
The bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Jen McEwen, DFL-Duluth, declined to explain during a committee hearing Tuesday when she thinks an unborn baby becomes a person.
“It seems the bill would create a fundamental right to an abortion at any time of pregnancy,” said Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka. “Sen. McEwen, in your opinion, when does an unborn baby become a person?”
“Senator, I don’t think that’s an appropriate question. I will not answer that,” she responded.
McEwen later clarified that she didn’t mean to “disparage … the importance of the question to many people.” The point of her bill, she said, is to “make government neutral in these decisions” and to put “into statutory law what currently exists within our case law.”
The “fundamental right” established by the bill would extend to “every individual,” including minors. Minors can already make health care decisions in Minnesota “without notifying their parents,” McEwen said.
The list of services guaranteed by this “right” doesn’t just include abortion but also “contraception,” “sterilization,” and more, according to the bill.
“This is a restatement of the law as it exists now,” McEwen said. “The picture that you’re painting of a child coming in on their own asking for a sterilization procedure seems not really based in fact and that is not something that happens.”