Capitol Comments: Extreme abortion bill approved in Minnesota House

Published 8:45 pm Friday, January 27, 2023

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Capitol Comments by Peggy Bennett

Peggy Bennett

Recently, Minnesota House Democrats approved radical abortion language that would allow abortions at any time during a pregnancy up until the child’s birth. The bill does not include any health or safety guardrails either, which means there is nothing to ensure that a woman seeking an abortion receives care in a safe or licensed environment, no parental notification or permissions involved for minors seeking abortions (what a boon for sex traffickers and abusers!), and that second- or third-term abortions do not need to take place in a hospital, despite the medical risks.

How many countries around the world have policies like this one? According to a Washington Post analysis, just seven countries permit elective abortion after 20 weeks, among them North Korea and China. Do we really want to be on par with brutal governments like these?

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Let’s be real about what we are discussing here. We are not talking about “reproductive rights” like access to contraceptives or women’s health care. I think most everyone can agree upon those things. We are talking about ending the life of a pre-born child who is growing in his/her mother’s womb. The reproductive choices were already made before the egg and the sperm met and created a human being in that womb. We need to be frank and honest with each other about this subject so that we can come to mutually agreed upon solutions.

Think about this: under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940, deliberately destroying — or even disturbing — a bald eagle’s egg or nest carries a $100,000 fine and a sentence of up to a year in prison for a first offense, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Naturally, we need laws to protect our wildlife and our environment. But what about human babies? Don’t they count?

Numerous attempts were made to amend the abortion legislation to show compassion to mothers and the unborn. The proposed changes included requiring second and third trimester abortions to be performed in a hospital, banning brutal partial birth abortions and banning abortions in the third trimester, with the exceptions of rape, incest and saving the life of the mother. House Democrats, who are the majority party in the Minnesota House, voted all of them down.

I voted NO on this bill. My heart breaks at its passing. As a teacher, I cannot be any less than unabashedly pro-life. I spent 33 years as an elementary school teacher, and I loved it. I love children. I had the blessing daily of looking into the sparkling eyes of my first graders, so full of life. Sometimes I would wonder, which of these precious children would not want to be here; which would not want a chance at life? None of them would say that they wish they’d been cut off in the womb and end their short life. I can be nothing other than pro-life.

I will always work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect as many lives as possible, make adoption more affordable and support common sense helps for pregnant mothers who find themselves in need. Every pregnant mother in crisis should know that there are other options available than only abortion. And every Minnesota citizen should know that the Democrats’ radical abortion priorities this session are out of touch with their values — and that this is not the only extreme abortion proposal that they are likely to approve.

Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, is the District 23A representative.