State-sponsored health programs administered by the Department of Human Services would not be able to pay for abortions, except as needed to continue participation in a federal program.
Federal law known as the Hyde Amendment bans federal funds from paying for abortions except in the case of rape, incest or preserving the life of the mother. A 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision struck down a 1978 law similar to HF809 as unconstitutional.
Franson said her bill would apply the same restriction to the Medical Assistance program. “My constituents and I do not believe we should pay for elective abortion,” she said.
Rep. Abigail Whelan (R-Ramsey) said using taxpayer dollars for abortions “is a violation of the religious freedom of Minnesotans who are being forced to fund a practice that goes against their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan) said the entire range of health care should be available to women in Minnesota regardless of whether they are wealthy or poor.
“We’re developing a habit of not listening to low-income women and not listening to women of color within the Legislature,” said Rep. Peggy Flanagan (DFL-St. Louis Park).
Franson said some organizations offer financial assistance to help women pay for abortions.
HF809 includes a severability clause, which would state the Legislature’s intent as being that if a court were to find part of the bill unconstitutional, the rest would remain in effect.
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