Licensing and inspections for abortion clinics

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Abortion clinics aren’t subject to the same licensing and inspection requirements as hospitals and surgery centers. Rep. Mary Liz Holberg (R-Lakeville) sponsors HF2340 that would change that.

The bill would require a clinic or health center that performs at least 10 abortions per month, including nonsurgical abortions, to be licensed and inspected by the Health Department.

The House Health and Human Services Reform Committee approved the bill on a vote of 14-6 March 14 and referred it to the House Government Operations and Elections Committee. Sen. Claire Robling (R-Jordan) sponsors a companion, SF1921, which awaits action by the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee.

Under the bill, patient data would be protected by data privacy laws and inspections would not require advance notice. Andrea Rau, a legislative associate for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, said the bill is needed to help insure that women’s health is protected through the use of clean facilities and proper procedures.

A Philadelphia case involving a doctor who allegedly delivered seven babies alive and then used a scissors to sever their spinal cords in unclean conditions was the catalyst for the proposed legislation, according to Rau.

The provision could affect an estimated seven clinics that perform 98 percent of abortions performed in the state.

Opponents said the bill singles out abortion clinics and hold them to a different standard than other types of clinics that don’t require licensing and inspection, such as those that perform colonoscopies.

Holberg said the fiscal impact will be challenging. A preliminary fiscal note estimates a $300,000 cost for the department to promulgate rules concerning licensing and inspections.