Archived Story

Dayton vetoes medicinal abortion measure

Published 9:48am Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill Monday that would have required doctors prescribing a medicinal abortion be physically present when administering the drug. If the bill had been signed, prescribing doctors not present when the medicine was administered could have faced felony charges.

Supporters of the bill say it stemmed from concerns related to abortion medications, claiming doctors cannot remotely examine a woman to be sure the drug is a good fit.

Rep. Rich Murray, R-Albert Lea, who voted in favor of the bill, said it ensured women’s safety.

“These bills are about ensuring that the facilities are safe, ensuring women’s safety,” he said.

Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, disagreed, saying the bill was geared to appeal to specific parts of the political spectrum. There are better ways to look out for women’s health, including improving access to health care and preventive care, she added.

Jennifer Aulwes, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, said the bill would have ended a program in Rochester where patients can take an abortion-inducing drug with a nurse in the room while video conferencing with a doctor in St. Paul — a practice called telemedicine.

“There’s a much greater emphasis now in doing telemedicine,” Poppe said.

Medical abortions are often chosen over more invasive surgical abortions by women in the early stages of pregnancy.

Previously, the bill passed the House on an 76-47 vote, and the Senate on a 39-25 vote. Dayton was not expected to sign the bill.

His veto comes just days after he vetoed a different abortion-related bill on Thursday. The other bill would have required abortion facilities that perform more than 10 abortions per month to pay a $3,712 annual license fee and undergo twice-yearly inspections by the commissioner of health.