December 21, 2012 — The Minnesota Department of Human Services on Tuesday requested dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that the state unlawfully used public funds to pay for more than 37,000 abortions for low-income women, the AP/St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (AP/St. Paul Pioneer Press, 12/19).
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the suit late last month, argues that the state is only supposed to pay for abortions for low-income women if their life or health is in danger or in cases of rape or incest, in accordance with state laws and a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision. According to the group, state health department data show that 10,044 of the 47,095 abortions paid for by the state from 1999 to 2011 met those requirements.
The suit seeks an injunction to stop all state-funded abortion coverage until the state proves that funds were not misused. It also asks the court to overturn an injunction enforcing the 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision, which held the state cannot deny abortion care to women receiving medical assistance "when the procedure is necessary for therapeutic reasons" (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/30).
Motion for Dismissal
In court papers, the department argued that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the state improperly funded abortions.
It added that the state abides by the 1995 state Supreme Court ruling and noted that the ruling also prohibits the state from interfering with discussions between a woman and her physician about her decision to obtain an abortion (AP/Pioneer Press, 12/19).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.