ST. PAUL – This afternoon, the Minnesota House is set to consider a pair of bills restricting access to reproductive health care for women. One would require facilities offering abortions to require special licensing, and the other would prevent state-administered health plans from providing coverage. Committee testimony indicated both of them would be prime for a constitutional challenge in the courts.
State Rep. John Lesch (DFL – St. Paul) released the following statement:
“That Kurt Daudt and House Republicans would bring bills to the floor attacking women’s rights to access reproductive health care shouldn’t be all that surprising. But what they’re doing today isn’t just a matter of misplaced priorities: it highlights a complete failure to govern in a fashion other than one based in the most cynical of politics. For over two decades, Doe vs. Gomez has made clear that in the state of Minnesota, all women have the right to reproductive health care as they choose, including access to abortion. Why, with just four weeks to go in the session, is the Speaker putting such clearly unconstitutional legislation center stage on the House floor?
“I hope Speaker Daudt recognizes that the clock is ticking. Minnesotans are expecting us to finish our work on time, and produce a state budget that improves opportunity for Minnesotans. At this stage of the game, for Daudt and Republicans to spend even one second on bills that have such harmful consequences to women – especially when they are clearly unconstitutional and likely destined for a trip to Vetoland anyway – is a dereliction of this critical responsibility.
“Mr. Speaker: put these divisive, discriminatory, harmful bills off to the side, get the conference committees their joint budget targets, and get us finished on time.”
Rep. John Lesch is the Lead-DFLer on the House Civil Law Committee. He also serves on the board of directors of Catholics for Choice, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit.