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Through the hard work and dedication of MCCL volunteers and staff, the pro-life movement in Minnesota has had many legislative successes over the years. Below are the highlights of MCCL’s legislative victories.Human Conceptus Law (MN Statutes 145.421-145.422)
Passed in 1973, just months after Roe v. Wade was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, this law prohibits experimentation on a living human conceptus. In 1991 the law was amended to expand the prohibition to transplantation as well.
Abortion Physician-Only Requirement (MN Statute 145.412, Subd. 1)
Only a year after unregulated and unrestricted abortion became the law of the land throughout the United States—thanks to Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton—Minnesota passed an extensive Abortion Regulatory Law which included many protections for both mother and unborn child. Unfortunately, most were declared unconstitutional. A requirement that only physicians perform abortions remains in effect.
Taxpayer Funded Abortion Ban (MN Statute 256B.0625)
In 1978, Minnesota passed a ban on taxpayer-funded abortions, except when needed to save the life of the mother and in cases where the pregnancy resulted from reported rape or incest. In 1995’s Doe v. Gomez decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court declared this law unconstitutional, thus forcing taxpayer-funded abortions on the people of Minnesota.
Parental Notification (MN Statute 144.343)
Minnesota served as a national leader on the issue of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. Passed in 1981, Minnesota’s parental notification law requires that both parents be notified at least 48 hours before the abortion is to occur. As required by the courts, Minnesota’s law includes a judicial bypass option where girls can petition a court for permission to have the abortion without parental notification. Minnesota’s law was challenged and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and now serves as model legislation for other states.
Abortion / Insurance Laws
Also in 1981, Minnesota passed a law allowing health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to exclude elective abortions from their coverage. Then in 1986, Minnesota’s state insurance law was amended to require coverage of maternity care in policies written to cover Minnesota residents. When the Health Care Access bill (which essentially created MinnesotaCare) passed in 1991, pro-lifers successfully amended the bill to prohibit coverage of abortion and abortion related services.
Wrong life/birth suits prohibited (MN Statute 145.424)
With the onset of unrestricted abortion came a new belief among some that it was a doctor’s duty to find out if an unborn child would be disabled, and if so, to then notify the parents so that the child could be aborted. Several of these cases, typically called "wrongful life" or "wrongful birth" suits, made it into the court system. With this in mind, Minnesota passed a law in 1982 prohibiting such cases. The law was challenged, although upheld, in the Minnesota Supreme Court.
"Baby Doe" Protections (MN Statute 260C.007)
Following a national controversy that arose over an Indiana infant whose parents denied care because their child was born disabled, Minnesota passed a law protecting such infants from withdrawal of medically indicated treatment (including feeding) in 1985 called the "Baby Doe" Law.
Fetal Homicide Law (MN Statute 609.266)
In the mid-80s, a Minnesota man was charged with causing the deaths of a mother and her unborn, although nearly full-term, 8 ½ month baby. On appeal, the court ruled that he could not be charged with the death of the unborn child. Consequently, in 1986, Minnesota passed a fetal homicide law which imposes penalties on those who kill or injure an unborn baby other than in the commission of a legal abortion.
Fetal Disposal Law (MN Statute 145.1621)
Yet another law that was passed, challenged, and upheld in the courts (this time the Federal Eighth Circuit Court) was Minnesota’s fetal disposal law ensuring that the bodies of aborted babies would be buried, cremated or otherwise disposed of in a sanitary and dignified manner. Previous to passage of this law, most of the bodies of aborted babies were considered "medical waste."
Advance Directives (MN Statutes Chapter 145C)
When Minnesota passed a new law authorizing living wills, they could be used to justify the withdrawal not only of medical care, but also of food and fluids. MCCL successfully lobbied to add some protective amendments to the legislation. One such protection requires that when a hospital refuses to treat a patient long-term, the hospital is still required to provide care to the patient until transfer to another hospital can be arranged.
Conscience Clause (MN Statute 145.925)
In 1991, the Minnesota legislature provided a significant funding increase for family planning agencies. There was a fear that abortion-supporting organizations would receive preference in receiving these funds; thus a conscience clause was added, prohibiting discrimination, when allocating family planning grant funds, against agencies that do not consider abortion a method of family planning.
Prohibition on Assisted Suicide (MN Statute 609.215)
1992 proved to be the year that Minnesota was able to tighten its law against assisted suicide. Over 20 years later, Minnesota’s law still serves as model legislation for the rest of the country.
Abortion Data Reporting (MN Statutes 145.4131-145.4136)
Even though Minnesota had a pro-abortion governor and pro-abortion leadership in both the House and Senate, in 1998 lawmakers were able to pass an abortion data reporting law. The information provided in the annual reports is invaluable, providing such statistics as why women choose abortion, what method of abortion is used, how developed the unborn child is at the time of the abortion, and whether or not the mother was using birth control at the time of conception. This is another law that serves as model legislation for other states.
Woman’s Right to Know (MN Statutes 145.4241-145.4249)
As the first major piece of legislation passed in 2003, Woman’s Right to Know empowers women by ensuring they are fully informed before undergoing an abortion. Specifically, the law requires that women be told the gestational age of their unborn child, what abortion procedure will be used, the risks of carrying their child to term and of the abortion procedure, and be offered information on the baby’s development and alternatives to abortion.
Positive Alternatives Act (MN Statute 145.4235)
In order to provide help to pregnant women, the Minnesota legislature passed the Positive Alternatives Act in 2005. Positive Alternatives provides more than $2 million annually in grants to life-affirming organizations that provide help to pregnant women. The grants are available to provide various support and resources to women facing an unexpected or difficult pregnancy, so that no woman feels forced into having an abortion.
Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act (MN Statute 145.4242)
The Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act was added to the Woman’s Right to Know law in 2005. It requires that women be offered pain-reducing medication for their unborn children after 20 weeks.
Prohibition on taxpayer funding of human cloning (2009 MN Session Law, Chapter 95, Article 1, Sec. 5, Subd. 7)
Prohibited the University of Minnesota from using taxpayer dollars for human cloning research for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.
Abortion/Insurance Laws (MN Statute 145.414)
This 2013 measure prohibits requiring insurance companies to offer coverage for elective abortions. Abortion will not be a mandated “benefit” in MNsure, the health insurance exchange required by the Affordable Care Act.
Born Alive Infant Protection Law (MN Statute 145.423)
Minnesota law already prohibited the killing of an infant who is born alive during the course of an abortion, but an updated version of the law, based on federal law, went into effect in 2015.
Safe Place for Newborns (MN Statute Section 145.902)
Minnesota enacted the Safe Place for Newborns law in 2000. This program aims to prevent infant abandonment or infanticide by allowing a mother to anonymously surrender her newborn at a designated "safe place," no questions asked. The program was expanded in 2012, and funds were allocated to promote the program in 2015.
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