Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature have offered four identical bills so far this session to ban state funds from going to abortion services. The DFL answered back with a bill of its own on Monday. The Reproductive Privacy Act would ensure that rights to birth control, legal abortion and the choice of carrying a pregnancy to term are protected.
The bill, HF646, reads:
(1) every individual has the fundamental right to choose or refuse birth control; (2) every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose and obtain an abortion before fetal viability or to terminate the pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; and (3) the state shall not deny or interfere with a woman’s fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose to obtain an abortion.
It also says that state, county and local governments cannot discriminate against the right to reproductive health care. Government entities can’t:
(1) deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose:
(i) to bear a child;
(ii) to terminate a pregnancy before viability; or
(iii) to terminate a pregnancy after viability when termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or
(2) discriminate against the exercise of rights set forth in clause (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.
The Republican bills would allow the state to discriminate, specifically to ban certain medical procedures from being paid for with state subsidized benefits – in this case abortion.
The DFL bill also contains a severability clause similar to the four bills that have been introduced to ban state funding for abortion; the clause states that if part of the bill is ruled unconstitutional, the rest should still stand. Experts have noted that the language in these bills is intended to trigger a lawsuit at the Minnesota Supreme Court level.
The legislators introducing the Reproductive Privacy Act are Reps. Jim Davnie of Minneapolis, Rena Moran of St. Paul, Jean Wagenius of Minneapolis, Dianne Loeffler of Minneapolis, Mindy Greiling of Roseville, and Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis.
The bill is identical to one that has been introduced in past sessions.
Linnea House of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota told the Minnesota Independent back in 2009 that the bill is important to preserving the safety of abortion services.
“In countries without access to safe and legal reproductive health care, women suffer from infertility or die as a direct result of illegal, unsafe and unsanitary abortions,” she said. “We also know that in countries where abortion is illegal, there is not always a decrease in abortion rates; there is, however, an increase in the number of women dying from unsafe medical procedures.”