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House panel votes to license abortion facilities in Minnesota

by | Apr 21, 2015

Measure to help ensure safety of women has passed through four committees

Minnesota State Rep. Debra Kiel

Minnesota State Rep. Debra Kiel

ST. PAUL — Legislation to license abortion facilities in Minnesota was approved Friday by the House Ways and Means committee. The measure aims to safeguard the health of women entering abortion centers. It is strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).

The bill (H.F. 606), authored by Rep. Debra Kiel, R-Crookston, would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed by the state commissioner of health. It would also authorize inspections of abortion facilities (up to two inspections per year), with no prior notice required.

Abortion centers in Minnesota currently are neither licensed nor inspected by any state agency—even though dangerous conditions and unscrupulous abortionists have been discovered in numerous other states. The proposed legislation would rectify this problem by applying the licensing requirements for outpatient surgical centers to abortion centers.

Andrea Rau

Andrea Rau

“Abortion centers perform invasive, outpatient surgery,” said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau. “Why are they excluded from the health and safety standards that apply to other outpatient surgical centers? This bill is necessary for us to ensure that the very unsafe conditions uncovered in other states never happen in Minnesota.”

The case of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, now serving life in prison for murder (among other crimes), is the most notorious example. Gosnell operated his dangerous “house of horrors” for years, and the grand jury investigation into his clinic specifically blamed state officials for failing to inspect abortion centers or to enforce regulations.

“Minnesota should have higher standards than that,” said Rau. “Women deserve better.”

The licensing bill was approved by the Ways and Means committee Friday on a voice vote. It had already passed through the Health and Human Services Reform, Government Operations and Elections Policy, and Health and Human Services Finance committees.