Senate Republicans pushed a dangerous bill through committees this week that targets clinics providing abortion care and once again puts politics in the middle of women’s health care. This bill would mandate medically unnecessary licensure requirements on abortion clinics and publicize the names and license numbers of providers working in these facilities. An exact version of this bill was vetoed by Governor Dayton in 2017 and it has been overwhelmingly opposed by medical professionals, calling it a dangerous overreach into the patient-physician relationship.
This bill does nothing to improve or protect the safety of patients or providers. Republicans resorted to scare tactics without acknowledging that abortion is an extremely safe medical procedure; less than 0.5% of abortions result in serious complications. Republicans could also not name a single reason why existing regulation and licensing standards clinics and providers abide by aren’t sufficient.
Clinics that provide reproductive health care and abortion services are already regulated and credentialed. Medical staff working in these clinics are licensed by state medical boards and required to maintain proper credentialing and provide quality standards of care. Also, clinics are accredited and follow clinical health and safety policies from the National Abortion Federation and undergo Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) certification every two years. Making them jump through additional bureaucratic hoops is just another way for Republicans to push this care out of reach for Minnesotans.
Another alarming aspect of this bill is the requirement for each clinic to list the names and license numbers of physicians working there, with no significant privacy protections in place. This is especially troubling given the rising number of violent acts against abortion providers in recent years.
By wide margins, Minnesotans prefer that women and their doctors make decisions around their health care, not politicians. The baseless restrictions in this bill only stigmatize and reduce access to care, they will do nothing to benefit patient safety. DFLers will continue to oppose this bill and any other bill that interferes with a person’s access to comprehensive, safe, and affordable reproductive health care. (SF 1636)