Abortion bills passed by the House


The House passed two abortion-related bills after a lengthy debate on each.

A bill that would ban abortions at or after 20 weeks of a pregnancy was passed 82-46.

Sponsored by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg (R-Lakeville), HF936 would require abortion providers to determine the probable gestational age of a fetus prior to performing an abortion, and would prohibit abortions at or after 20 weeks post-fertilization, unless certain conditions apply. It now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Gretchen Hoffman (R-Vergas) is the sponsor. Gov. Mark Dayton has publicly said he would veto such a bill.

Supporters of the so-called “Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” contend that scientific developments over the last few decades in prenatal medical technology has found that at as early as 20 weeks gestation, a human fetus can feel pain.

Opponents contended that the proposed legislation does not take into consideration the fact that pregnancies can result in a fetus diagnosed with an abnormality that is incompatible with life and could die before coming to full term or shortly after birth.

The House also voted 80-44 to pass HF201, sponsored by Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) that would prohibit the use of funding for state-sponsored health programs for abortions, except to the extent required for continued participation in a federal program. It now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) is the sponsor.

Those opposed to the bill said it is unconstitutional and negatively impacts a “very personal” health care choice made available to poor women who wouldn’t otherwise have the financial means to have an abortion. Supporters said the bill conforms to current federal laws.