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Minnesota Democrats try to force Senate vote on codifying abortion

Democrats in the GOP-led chamber said they moved to bring the bills to the floor without committee approval following the leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion on abortion.

Minnesota Senate - 013122
Members of the Minnesota Senate on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, applauded after Sen. Dave Osmek, R-Mound, was elected as Senate president on the first day of the 2022 legislative session.
Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service
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ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Senate on Thursday, May 12, blocked a series of votes on bills aimed at codifying the right to an abortion and funding family planning and leave programs.

Senate Democrats sought to move the proposals from committees to the floor for a vote, citing an urgent need to address the bills due to the impending U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion. A leaked draft opinion showed the court sat poised to overturn the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.

The minority caucus members said they hoped to debate the bills on the floor since few had received a committee hearing in the GOP-led chamber.

"We are under attack when it comes to our privacy rights. Roe v. Wade is just the beginning," Senate Minority Leader Melisa López Franzen, DFL-Edina, said. "We are just very concerned with the lack of urgency in this body to move these bills forward."

The proposals would codify the right to have an abortion and to access birth control, eliminate a requirement in state law that physicians read a script to patients before an abortion, and create a state paid family leave program.

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They would also call for a study of maternal death rates, allow a pregnant woman to designate a support person, fund additional family planning programs and voluntary home visits for families with infants and set a criminal penalty for removing a condom during sex without a partner's knowledge.

None of the bills received the 41 votes needed to be taken up on the floor and they were set aside one by one after they failed to meet that threshold. Republicans in the chamber voted against motions to bring them to the floor without comment.

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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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