Controversial abortion bill passes Legislature

Megan Boldt

After hours of heated debate Monday morning, the Senate barely passed a bill requiring a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion.
The bill passed the Senate 37-30 and passed the House early Thursday morning. It will now go to Gov. Jesse Ventura’s desk for review.
John Wodele, Ventura’s press secretary, said the governor would not comment on whether he will sign the bill, but the governor has consistently aired his pro-choice viewpoints and even threatened during the last legislative session to veto any abortion language in it.
But some House members say the governor would support the waiting period.
Wodele said the bill is expected to reach Ventura’s desk sometime today.
The bill requires those performing abortions to provide information about abortion and alternatives to the surgery. Once the information is given, a woman must wait 24 hours before she can have the abortion.
Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, said passionately in the debate that there is nothing wrong with the bill — there is nothing wrong with informing women about abortion and its options.
But many University-area representatives are appalled by the bill.
University-area Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said the bill is demeaning and infringes on a woman’s privacy.
“It implies women are not smart enough to treat this issue seriously,” Pogemiller said. “It’s ill-conceived and demeaning.”
The bill could have serious implications on all women, including college-aged students, Pogemiller said.
It creates the possibility women will not receive timely and quality health care, he said. Pogemiller also said the bill sets health care providers as targets for opponents of a woman’s right to choose.
Pogemiller said he was also a little surprised by the Senate’s move — a move that he thinks brings women back 20 years.
“I hope the governor has the courage to veto it,” he said.
University-area Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, was appalled by the bill’s passage. She said this bill is sneaky and takes away women’s rights when it comes to abortion.
“The issue of abortion is why I originally ran for office,” Kahn said. “Young women today have taken this right for granted. We’ve been complacent for too long.”
She also said the bill has been nicknamed the “Stop the Stupid Women” bill among some legislators.
“Basically, they’re saying women are too stupid to make this decision on their own,” Kahn said.

Megan Boldt covers state government and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3212.