Minnesota lawmakers Monday passed a pair of bills to tighten restrictions on abortions, joining the dozens of other states where such Republican-led initiatives are becoming law. The measures in Minnesota would eliminate state funding for abortions and prohibit all abortions after 20 weeks, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The state House passed similar bills last week with minor differences, which need to be resolved with the Senate bill before going to the Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.
Minnesota taxpayers have subsidized abortions for poor women since a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision. But only two of seven justices who made that decision remain on the court.
Sen. Dave Thompson
, R-Lakeville, who sponsored the elimination of state funding, said tax dollars should not pay for a practice many find "morally repugnant."
"We are very glad that the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as individual Supreme Courts around the country, have been willing to change their mind," said Thompson. "Otherwise, we would still have segregated schools in this country."
Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion groups advocated for the ban on abortions after 20 weeks based on studies that show fetuses can feel pain after that amount of time in gestation.
"We are protecting the lives of people who cannot speak for themselves," said Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, who sponsored the legislation. "And that is an unborn child, who through the abortion process is put through excruciating pain – nothing that we would do to a dog in this country. And I ask that we look at our future generation as more than a dog."
It’s unclear whether Dayton, a Democrat, will sign the bills into law. He has said he will not sign bills violating “the fundamental right” to an abortion.
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