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Dayton vetoes abortion bills

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: May 25, 2011 - 4:08 PM

The session might be over, but the vetoes keep coming.

Gov. Mark Dayton shut down a pair of bills Wednesday that would have limited abortion rights in Minnesota. One prohibited state funding of abortions for poor women, while the other banned all abortions after 20 weeks.

Dayton was backed by abortion rights groups during the campaign and was widely expected to veto both measures. In the veto letters he told lawmakers, "Our place is not between a woman and her doctor."

Regarding the ban on taxpayer funding of abortion, he said it would "interfere with critical and difficult medical decisions." He added that the language of the bill was too vague -- possibly leaving open the possibility that it would apply to state workers who pay into health care programs regulated by the state.

On the 20-week ban, he said, "medical research, findings, and conclusions are best left to experts."

“We are very disappointed that Gov. Dayton prevented these mainstream measures from becoming law in our state,” said Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Live. “These are reasonable provisions, not extreme, and have overwhelming support from Minnesotans and legislators.”

Sarah Stoesz with Planned Parenthood applauded the decision. “We want all women to be healthy and safe, and we believe that all women should be able to make personal medical decisions, often very difficult ones, without the interference of politicians," Stoesz said.

Sen. Dave Thompson, sponsor of the taxpayer funding bill, said at a press conference this afternoon that he would not introduce it as a constitutional amendment.

Other lawmakers could still explore that route next year, however, bypassing Dayton and sending the issue to the voters.

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