After long, wrenching debates with sometimes graphic testimony, the Minnesota House approved bills Friday that would ban abortions in the state after 20 weeks of gestation and prohibit public money from paying for the procedure.
The 20-week ban was approved 82-46. The prohibition on public funding of abortions was approved 80-44.
Those votes, in which the Republican majority was joined by a few Democrats, aren't sufficient to override an almost certain veto by Gov. Mark Dayton, who has repeatedly voiced opposition to bills moving through the Legislature that would restrict abortion rights. Ninety votes would be needed to override a veto.
This is the first time since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion that both chambers of the Legislature have been controlled by lawmakers who oppose abortion rights.
The 20-week ban and prohibition of public funding, also being pushed in several other states, would pose a direct challenge to existing state laws protecting abortion and probably would face a weighty court challenge if enacted.
The 20-week proposal is modeled after a first-in-the-nation law adopted last year in Nebraska that bans abortions after five months.
Supporters contend that's the time when developing fetuses begin to feel pain. Opponents say there is no conclusive proof of that.
Minnesota is one of at least seven states considering nearly identical 20-week bans.
Fewer than 2 percent of the 12,386 abortions performed in Minnesota in 2009 involved fetuses older than 20 weeks, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota said those cases often involve fetuses with fatal medical conditions.
The only exception to the ban would involve cases that would threaten a pregnant woman's life or cause her permanent physical impairment.
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota condemned the bill as an unwarranted government intrusion that "would have a devastating impact on a woman facing serious complications after her first trimester of pregnancy."
The other abortion bill would prohibit spending public money on abortions for poor women enrolled in state-funded health care programs.
The bill runs counter to a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision, which ruled that state health programs for the poor must cover reproductive health procedures -- including abortions.
According to the state Department of Human Services, state and federal funding paid for about 3,700 abortions in 2008, at a cost of about $1.5 million.
The abortion restrictions are also making their way through the Senate, where a committee approved both earlier this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Bob von Sternberg • 651-222-0973