Minnesota governor vetoes bills restricting abortion rights
Minnesota governor vetoes bills restricting abortion rights
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[JURIST] Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton [official website] vetoed a pair of bills [veto HF 201; veto HF 936] Wednesday that restricted state funding for abortions and banned them altogether after 20 weeks. Dayton vetoed Chapter 59 [text] of Minnesota House File 936, which would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks based on “substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by 20 weeks after fertilization.” In Dayton’s veto he said, “imposing civil penalties and making it a felony for a doctor to deliver care that is in the best interest of the patient is unconscionable.” Dayton also vetoed Chapter 56 [text] of House File 201, which mandated that public funding to state-sponsored cannot be used to provide abortions. The veto letter stated that the law:

infringes on a woman’s basic right to health and safety—a right every woman has, regardless of how she receives her health coverage. Our place is not between a woman and her doctor. The law already prescribes that state funding may only be used for abortions in cases of rape or incest, for health or therapeutic reasons, and when a woman’s life is in danger. House File 201 would interfere with critical and difficult medical decisions.

Dayton’s campaign was supported by abortion rights groups [Minneapolis Star Tribune report], and he was expected to issue the vetoes.

Earlier this week, a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] upheld an Ohio law that limits the use of the “abortion pill,” overturning a 2006 injunction [JURIST reports]. The law requires that the use of the pill, RU-486 [FDA guidelines], conform with federal guidelines, which currently do not allow the pill to be used after seven weeks of pregnancy. Oklahoma has also prohibited the use of RU-486 [JURIST report]. In April, the Ohio Senate approved a bill [JURIST report] that would limit the availability of abortions after 20 weeks. That bill is pending in the House. Missouri, Indiana, Alabama and Oklahoma [JURIST reports] have each passed legislation this year which restricts the abortion procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Also, earlier this year, a legislative committee in the Ohio House of Representatives advanced [Columbus Dispatch report] the “Heartbeat Bill,” [HB 125 text], which would ban abortions after the point at which a fetus’s heartbeat becomes detectable in the womb.