For almost two decades now, Minnesota women have had additional protection in their right to an abortion, thanks to a 1995 court ruling that declared the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy for all women, regardless of their income. Since the Doe v. Gomez decision, which allows poor women in the state to use Medicaid coverage to pay for their abortions, anti-choice activists led by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life have made pushing a bill to end insurance coverage a legislative priority.
This year is no different, as the latest “Prohibition of state funds” bill has been introduced in the state legislature. The issue is even more urgent for 2013 as this will be the year in which Minnesota should open its state health care exchange, a move anti-choicers claim is a back-handed attempt to expand abortion funding. Conservative special interest groups began their assault on the state’s funding of abortion for low-income women last year when they promoted a lawsuit by two local anti-choice pastors claiming that allowing poor women to terminate pregnancies was a form of racial discrimination.
Both the abortion funds prohibition and a TRAP bill to force clinics that perform abortions to be inspected and licensed like ambulatory surgical centers, were introduced and passed during the 2012 legislative session, and later vetoed by Governor Mark Dayton. This year, due to the election and gains in the legislature by Democrats, the bills may not even make it that far.