20-week abortion ban may put more Minnesotans at risk

Legislation heard this week would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the state of Minnesota. Although abortions that occur later in pregnancy account for only about 1% of abortions nationwide, this percentage represents patients who still deserve the right to care that best fits their health needs.

The bill would not only infringe on Minnesotans’ basic right to health and safety but would also criminalize doctors for acting in the best interest of their patients. If the legislation becomes law, a physician who performs an abortion after 20 weeks in Minnesota could be prosecuted for a felony offense and become subject to civil claims. Intimidating health care by imposing civil penalties for delivering care that is in the best interest of patients’ health does not reflect Minnesota’s standard of high-quality and comprehensive care.

An individual’s personal health should guide important medical decisions throughout the course of their pregnancy. This bill’s one-size-fits all model directly challenges Minnesota Supreme Court case Doe v. Gomez, as well as, Roe v. Wade, by limiting abortion access in the state, and passage of this bill may have costly repercussions as other states with similar laws have paid millions in legal fees to defend unconstitutional restrictions on abortion rights. A better use of Minnesota taxpayer’s dollars would be to expand access to birth control and family planning resources that reduce unintended pregnancies.

Research suggest that medically-appropriate care is best determined between medical experts and patients, not politicians. Every very pregnancy is different, and adequate medical options should be available for doctors and all Minnesota families so that they may determine what is best for them in their unique and challenging circumstance. (SF 1609)