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The Minnesota Daily

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Performer Mayyadda singing at the University of Minnesota Juneteenth Celebration “We Are The Noise: The Echoes of Our Ancestors” captured on Saturday, June 15.
Best photos of June '24
Published June 23, 2024

Restricting abortion

With a June 6 deadline imposed by Gov. Jesse Ventura, conference committees from the Minnesota House and Senate continue to slouch toward agreements over the fate of spending bills. As the largest funding bill in the state, the Health and Human Services finance bill has garnered attention because House Republicans added requirements for a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion. Their attempts to restrict a woman’s guaranteed rights extends into language that, if passed, would place a “gag rule” on doctors and organizations that receive state funds for family planning. This is a contemptible effort to impose a narrowly defined morality upon the entire state, and all citizens should be calling their legislators and demanding such language be repealed before the appropriations bill is passed.

The Family Planning Special Projects provide funds for organizations across the state to assist women in making healthy family planning choices. If the House version of the bill passes, clinics that get the projects money would not be able to counsel, refer or provide abortion care. This is in addition to the fact that the funds for the project would already be cut by 70 percent. So this would leave clinics like the Cedar-Riverside People’s Clinic fighting for a share of the reduced funds, if they were able to receive funds at all.

Though Republicans continually preach for a smaller government that is less involved in the lives of the people, it apparently does not extend to the doctor-patient relationship, which does bring up medical ethics issues. Clearly, the doctor, working with the patient, is in the best position to determine the course of medical treatment, not legislators, most of whom have scant medical knowledge. Doctors should be able to freely discuss and explain all forms of medical procedures, as well as give referrals to other doctors who may have more information and be able to provide abortions, if that is the course of action decided upon.

Ironically, Republicans attack family planning services which can actually reduce the number of abortions in the long term. Contraceptives, they have yet to realize, are not synonymous with abortion. Additionally, this bill also provides money for adoption services, something the Republicans and their pro-life allies such as the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life claim to support as an alternative to abortion. Perhaps their rage against family planning is due to the pro-life movement’s dislike for organizations like Planned Parenthood. Abortion opponents have come under the false assumption that anything Planned Parenthood does, from abortion to family planning, must be wrong.

The financing bill is currently boggled down, stuck between the political maneuvers of Senate Democrats, House Republicans and the governor. As the special session approaches, the question comes down to who will give in to the other’s demands. Both sides have much to lose. If the Republicans back down, they could incur the wrath of the MCCL, and other base constituents while if the Democrats allow the funding bill to pass, they would be treading down the path to restrictions, and possibly an eventual outlaw on abortion. The position taken by the Democrats and governor is the reasonable one. They must continue to provide a united front and not be afraid to stand their ground in order to ensure that abortion remains legal, and more importantly, so that a woman can continue to control all aspects of her health care.

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