Republicans would ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy
We're not sure what any of this has to do with their campaign promises to create jobs, jobs and more jobs for Minnesotans, but Republicans in the Legislature have introduced their fifth anti-abortion rights bill this session.
House Speaker Kurt Zellers is among the sponsors of the bill.
If they get their way, it will mean that pregnant women will be forbidden from getting abortions after their 20th week of pregnancy.
Are there a lot of these abortions going on? No. The state Department of Health figures that about 2 percent of the roughly 12,000 abortions in Minnesota in 2009 came after the 20 week of pregnancy.
The bill asserts that there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by 20 weeks after fertilization, and that there is a compelling state interest in "protecting the lives of unborn children" as a result.
There is also substantial medical evidence showing just the opposite, as highlighted in this report from the Guttmacher Institute:
The Senate version is sponsored by Gretchen Hoffman and Warren Limmer. The House version is sponsored by House Speaker Kurt Zellers, Matt Dean and Mary Liz Holberg (from left).
A recent review of the literature published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that the necessary physical structures to perceive pain develop between 23 and 30 weeks' gestation.
But anti-abortion activists dismiss all scientific evidence that contradicts their world view: National Right To Life trashes a 2005 JAMA lit review that disputes the 20-week threshold for pain as being "pro abortion," for example.
So it's full speed ahead. Here's the text of the bill:
No person shall perform or induce or attempt to perform or induce an abortion upon a woman when it has been determined, by the physician performing or inducing or attempting to perform or induce the abortion, or by another physician upon whose determination that physician relies, that the probable post-fertilization age of the woman's unborn child is 20 or more weeks unless, in reasonable medical judgment, she has a condition which so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.
And just to make sure their family values priorities are in order, the Republicans' bill makes no exception for women who are raped, or are the victims of incest.