The attacks on reproductive health this session included failed bills designed to cut funding for family planning services in Minnesota by 20% (SF800) and to eliminate access to Planned Parenthood clinics for 45,000 patients each year who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, STD testing and treatment, clinical breast exams, and life-saving cancer screenings.
Unfortunately, the 2017 Minnesota Legislature refused to give a hearing to Rep. Erin Murphy’s CHEER Act (Contraception Health Equity and Employee Rights), which would have allowed women to receive a 12 month supply of birth control and would have ensured that employers include contraception coverage and follow-up services in employee health plans.
Ultimately, the Minnesota legislature passed two anti-abortion bills that would have severely cut off access to reproductive health care.
- SF702 and HF809 would have eliminated abortion coverage for women who access health insurance from state sponsored programs.
- SF704 and HF812 would have singled out abortion providers for medically unnecessary restrictions in order to shut down clinics across the state and reduce access to abortion.
Despite their passage in the Minnesota Legislature, Governor Mark Dayton once again proved himself again as a champion of reproductive rights and vetoed them both. In fact, Governor Dayton promised to veto SF702 in February if it was delivered to his desk, which raises the question why MN legislature spent months on a bill that would only be shot down instead of working on bills like the Minnesota Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) , which unfortunately did not move past being introduced. This bill would have made it a gross misdemeanor for a person to intentionally obstruct, injure, intimidate clients, providers or staff of reproductive health clinics.
We are immensely grateful for our allies in the Minnesota House and Senate who fought against these disastrous bills and who spoke out against those trying to tell women what we should do with their bodies and in the Governor’s office who ultimately put an end to these attacks on our reproductive rights. We also are extremely grateful for our supporters who have tirelessly fought on behalf of Planned Parenthood by signing petitions, coming to rallies, volunteering, sharing their stories, donating or even just coming to Planned Parenthood clinics. We couldn’t continue this fight without you!
However, our opponents will not give up their fight to strip away our access to legal and safe abortions, and access to health care offered at Planned Parenthood clinics. In order to ensure Minnesota remains a place where all people have autonomy over their bodies, we must look forward to the 2018 election and work towards electing champions of reproductive health in the Minnesota House and Senate races and in the Governor’s race. We must put the pressure on and push Minnesota forward in terms of reproductive health.