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SF704 (HF812) is an unconstitutional restriction on a woman’s right to abortion that would require abortion clinics to meet discriminatory, unnecessary, and burdensome standards.


Abortion is extremely safe and should not be singled out for additional regulation.

  • According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there are 1,250 other similar clinics performing non-abortion services that would not be similarly regulated. These clinics perform procedures such as colonoscopies, knee arthroscopies, dental surgery, glaucoma corrective surgery, and liposuction.Many of these procedures carry a similar or higher rate of complication than abortion
  • The most recent report on induced abortions from the Minnesota Department of Health showed an intraoperative complication rate of less than .15%.1 Risk of death in childbirth is 14 times higher than from abortion.2
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that providing abortion in a physician’s office is both safe and appropriate.3

This bill compromises patient and provider privacy, putting their safety at risk. 

  • Unlike Minnesota’s statutes governing hospital licensing and inspection, this bill provides no explicit protection for patient privacy during inspections.
  • This bill requires that abortion clinics report the names and license numbers of all “health care professionals” who work at the clinic in their applications for licensure.
  • Including the recent attack in Colorado, there have been 11 murders and 26 attempted murders due to anti-abortion violence.

A politically motivated Commissioner of Health could use this legislation to target abortion providers for harassment. 

  • Subd 4(6) of the bill requires the licensure application to include “any other information the commissioner deems necessary.”This language could allow a commissioner to solicit unnecessary information or tie up clinics with long and burdensome paperwork.
  • In his 2012 letter vetoing similar legislation, Governor Dayton stated, “the bill is vague in its definition of potential licensure violations, including penalties for undefined ‘conduct or practices detrimental to the welfare of the patient.’ Such language could permit complaints to be filed against health care providers for almost any reason.”

In 2016, a similar Texas law was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.   

  • In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 27, 2016, that anti-abortion restrictions must (1) further a valid state interest; (2) confer benefit that outweigh burdens; and (3) are based on credible evidence. The test applies to a broad range of abortion restrictions and is not limited to those that were challenged in Texas.
  • Subsequently, similar abortion restrictions have been struck down by federal courts as unconstitutional and some states have been liable for challengers’ attorneys’ fees and costs. In Wisconsin, the state agreed to pay $1.6 million to the challenger of an unconstitutional restriction on abortion rights.4

1Induced Abortions in Minnesota, January-December 2015, Report to the Legislature.  Minnesota Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics.
2Raymond EG and Grimes DA, The comparative safety of legal induced abortion and childbirth in the United States, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2012, 119(2):215–219.
3American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Guidelines for Women’s Health Care, Third Edition, Washington, DC: ACOG, 2011.
4Treleven, Ed.  “State Agrees to Pay Planned Parenthood Lawyers $1.6 Million for Fees, Other Costs.”  Wisconsin State Journal. 7 Sept 2016.  Web.  Accessed 7 Feb 2017.

Tags: minnesota

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