Dayton nixes abortion clinic licensing bill

Published 11:30 am Friday, April 27, 2012

Sparks, Murray vote for abortion bill, Poppe votes against it

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill Thursday to require clinics that perform abortions to pay license fees and undergo special inspections.

The bill would have required facilities that perform more than 10 abortions per month to pay a $3,700 annual license fee and undergo twice-yearly inspections by the Department of Health.

Dayton said in a veto letter the bill’s language was vague in its definition of potential license violations. He says the bill targeted only clinics that provide abortions and that any new licensure standards should apply to all clinics. Dayton also wrote that he believes the bill might violate the U.S. Constitution.

Email newsletter signup

Backers of the licensing bill said it’s needed oversight of invasive procedures.

The bill is about ensuring that the facilities are safe and ensuring women’s safety, Rep. Rich Murray, R-Albert Lea, said of the bill last week.

Critics argued it singles out abortion facilities over other clinics and creates barriers to abortions. The Department of Health says that clinics in the state are not licensed, but doctors and nurses at the facilities are.

“It’s not something that’s been found to be necessary in Minnesota,” Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, said Wednesday, noting that the bill sets abortion clinics apart from other facilities that do invasive surgery. “There are a lot of other kinds of facilities that could also be considered for [licensing].”

The House had passed the measure on a vote of 80-47 and the Senate supported it 43-23. Murray and Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, voted for the bill, and Poppe voted against it.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.