Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed a bill that would have required Minnesota to license its abortion clinics.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan,would have required the state to license any clinic that provides 10 or more abortions a month. Supporters called it a common-sense measure to ensure that the clinics are clean and safe – and to avoid abuses like the case of a Pennsylvania abortion clinic that has come to be known as the“House of Horrors.”  There have been no such abuses reported in Minnesota.

But in his Thursday veto letter, Dayton said the bill would have imposed “inappropriate and unworkable” new requirements on the clinics. Moreover, he said, the language in the bill was so vague – clinics would be monitored for “conduct or practices detrimental to the welfare of the patient” – that complaints could have been filed against the clinic for almost any reason.

The six abortion clinics in Minnesota that would have been affected by the bill, the governor wrote, are among 1,250 outpatient clinics in the state that operate without state licensure. But all of them operate under strict oversight. Doctors and nurses are licensed, and the abortion clinics are inspected by the National Abortion Federation, which sets and oversees clinical policies.

Supporters of the bill said it was absurd for Minnesota to license tattoo parlors and hair-braiding salons, but not abortion clinics. Dayton countered that if the issue was health, and not abortion politics, then Minnesota should license all 1,250 outpatient clinics, not just six.

“The legislation targets only facilities which provide abortions,” he wrote. “If regulation of clinics were the concern, the bill should have required licensure of all clinics, not just a select few. If the Legislature wants to create a new regulatory scheme for health care clinics, then all clinics should be treated equally. No clinic or procedure should be the focus of special and unique regulatory requirements.”

As the governor vetoed one abortion bill, another was about to head to his desk. A bill that would require a physician's presence when abortion pills are prescribed or taken passed the Legislature Thursday morning.

Bill Poehler, spokesman for Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life, said he was happy to see that both bills at least passed the Legislature, and he is hoping the governor will refrain from vetoing the abortion pill bill.

"We're very hopeful," he said. The bill "simply institutes lincensing of abortion facilities, bringing them in line with all other outpatient facilities."

The Minnesota Medical Association urged the governor to veto both bills.

You can read the full veto letter below:
 

Dayton Veto Letter

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