Since he took office in 2011, Governor Mark Dayton has been a steadfast advocate for Planned Parenthood. As Minnesota prepares for Governor-elect Walz to take office in January, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the legacy and contributions of Governor Dayton. Join us by sending your own message of thanks to Governor Dayton’s office.
A Backstop Against Extreme Anti-Reproductive Health Policy
During his eight years leading Minnesota, Governor Dayton has vetoed countless extreme bills that would have eroded reproductive rights, including vetoes on:
- VETO: Bills to limit abortion coverage for people with lower incomes
- VETO: TRAP-style bills that singled out abortion providers with cumbersome and unnecessary restrictions
- VETO: A bill banning abortion after 20 weeks
- VETO: A bill that would have compromised the doctor-patient relationship by requiring health care providers to offer patients the option to view an ultrasound prior to an abortion
- and more.
Because of Governor Dayton’s leadership, Minnesotans have been protected from the negative repercussions of laws that would chip away at access to reproductive health care. With anti-reproductive health politicians controlling one or both chambers of the Legislature for six of his eight years as governor, Governor Dayton’s unwavering support for protecting access to reproductive health care was valuable and necessary.
Dedicated Advocate for Health Care
Health care is an issue that affects all of us—and Governor Dayton has been committed to protecting and expanding access to care. One of his first acts in office was to implement Medicaid expansion to improve health care coverage for Minnesotans with lower incomes. Two years later in 2013, Governor Dayton signed a second bill that further expanded Medicaid eligibility, preserved and improved the 30-year old MinnesotaCare program for low-income working Minnesotans and codified protections for consumers seeking health insurance into state law. As a result, more Minnesotans have health insurance, with the rate of uninsured people falling by almost 50% between 2013 and 2015. The number of uninsured Minnesotans remains at near-record lows.
Governor Dayton also supported and signed into law a bill that increased the reimbursement rate for family planning and preventative health services provided to Minnesotans through Medicaid. This reimbursement rate increase coupled with an increase in the number of Minnesotans that qualify for Medicaid funding greatly expanded access to reproductive health care in Minnesota.
Most recently, Governor Dayton joined thirteen other governors across the country in sending a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar opposing the Trump-Pence administration’s dangerous Title X gag rule. Title X is the nation’s family planning program that helps cover the cost of contraception and preventive care for people with lower incomes. The proposed gag rule bans any health care provider that refers patients for safe, legal abortion from receiving Title X funds and using them to pay for family planning and preventive care. The gag rule is unnecessary, politically motivated, and needlessly diminishes access to health care, particularly for people with lower incomes, people who live in rural areas, and people of color, many of whom already face significant barriers to accessing care. We’re grateful that Governor Dayton stood firm against this harmful rule.
A Champion for Advancing Economic Security
Midway through his tenure, Governor Dayton and his administration passed the groundbreaking and far-reaching Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA). The WESA legislative package strengthened workplace protections for pregnant people and nursing mothers, expanded employment opportunities for women, and reduced the gender pay gap through increased enforcement of equal pay laws.
The sweeping legislation also included enhanced support for victims of stalking and sexual assault provisions to improve economic security in retirement.
This landmark policy demonstrates Governor Dayton’s commitment to improving the lives of Minnesota women and families.
A Commitment to Uplifting and Supporting Women
The Dayton administration has also demonstrated its support of women and families through administrative action. Many leadership and cabinet positions are held by women.
Of the five Minnesota Supreme Court Justices Governor Dayton has appointed during his tenure, four of them are women, including two women of color. In all, Governor Dayton has appointed more women to all levels of state judgeships than any of his predecessors and has increased racial diversity on the bench by 89% since 2011.
In late 2016, Governor Dayton and former Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith partnered with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota to launch the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, aimed at improving opportunities for young Minnesota women between the ages of 12-24. The first initiative of its kind in the nation, the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota has brought together nonprofits, businesses, government, philanthropies, and young women to create a plan to build equity in outcomes for young women in Minnesota. The Initiative also includes the creation of a Young Women’s Cabinet, comprised of 24 young women ages 16-24 to consult with community working groups and Initiative members.
Send Governor Dayton a Thank You message
Through his words and his actions, Governor Dayton has helped create a better future for all Minnesotans. As we move into a new era of leadership in Minnesota, his legacy deserves to be celebrated and recognized.
It’s important to thank leaders who stand up for our shared values. Send Governor Dayton a message today to let him know you’re thankful for all the work he’s done to protect and expand access to reproductive health care and make our state a better place.