Last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a bill meant to increase the costs of running clinics that perform abortions, a move anti-choice politicians hoped would cause clinics to struggle and potentially close their doors.
Now, Dayton has veto-ed another bill, this time to stop a ban on “tele-med” abortions by restricting RU-486 to only be used within a doctor’s presence.
Citing the safety of the drug, as well as the additional expenses that mostly rural women would incur if the Rochester tele-med program were banned, Dayton stated in his veto letter:
While patient safety should always be our top priority and can be addressed through state-level policy making, a veto is warranted on legislation driven by a specific political ideology rather than a broad-based concern for protecting all patients.
If there was any doubt that the bill was based on politics versus medicine, the debate over the bill in the senate made the issue clear. When Democratic state Sen. John Marty asked why this drug needed to be regulated, rather than errectile dystfunction medications such as Viagra, Republican Sen. Paul Gazelka, the bill’s sponsor, responded that unlike RU-486, Viagra is a “wonderful drug” that “helps create life.” When I asked Sen. Gazelka if he could clarify his response, he told me via email that:
comparing Viagra to RU-486 was comparing apples and oranges or more like comparing life and death. Viagra is a wonderful medical advancement in that can help couples with sexual disfunction issues…it can even help in producing life. RU486 always destroys life by taking the life of the unborn child.
I also asked Sen. Gazelka if, in light of its “wonderful” qualities, he himself used the medication, or would consider sponsoring legislation that would create a database of information such as name, address, medical history, familial history, phone number, age and sexual history for those who are prescribed Viagra, to be handed over to the state department of health, such as databases created in various other states to gather information on women who obtain abortions.
The senator told me no comment to both questions.
Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life (MCCL) called the veto another sign of Dayton’s preference for the “abortion industry” over Minnesota women.
“Once again, Gov. Dayton has come to the defense of the abortion industry at the expense of women’s safety,” said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach to LifeNews. “This is the seventh pro-life initiative that would protect women and unborn children that has been vetoed. The Dayton record is now clear: he is no friend of women or their babies.”
With both the House and the Senate in solid anti-choice hands since the 2010 sweep election that flipped both bodies, Governor Dayton has single-handedly stopped the state from passing restriction after restriction on a woman’s right to choose. Without Dayton’s vetoes, Minnesota would likely have gone down the same path as Wisconsin, Arizona, and so many other states that have spent the last two years declaring a war on reproductive rights.