Editorial: Lawmakers erred with abortion bill
Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2001
The 2001 Minnesota legislature, despite falling short in efforts to pass major spending and tax bills, did manage to send a Health and Human Services package to Gov.
Thursday, May 24, 2001
The 2001 Minnesota legislature, despite falling short in efforts to pass major spending and tax bills, did manage to send a Health and Human Services package to Gov. Jesse Ventura’s desk before time ran out on their session. Looking back on a legislature best summed up by the word &uot;futile,&uot; it’s clear that political game-playing doomed the only major funding bill the body managed to pass.
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Ventura vetoed the bill because it contained a Women’s Right to Know abortion measure, similar to the one he vetoed last year. The governor warned that no bill containing that provision would get his signature this year, but lawmakers sent him the bill anyway.
Why? Well, they either weren’t paying attention, or they saw it as a convenient way to turn pro-life voters against Ventura in the next election.
Sending a bill that contains important funding for important programs to a certain doom, strictly for political gain, is irresponsible. Building a case against political enemies shouldn’t take precedent over getting the state’s business done. And the merits of the abortion provision itself are not pertinent to the discussion; if lawmakers knew the bill had no chance of passage, they were wasting their time and everyone else’s by sending the bill, no matter how important they thought it was.
Now, as the legislature prepares for a special session, the health bill is one more among the other tax and funding packages that must be dealt with. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have at least one out of the way?
Abortion politics tend to bring out the worst in those on both sides of the issue, and this incident was no exception.