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Minnesota Anti-Choice Activists File Frivolous Lawsuit Against Medicaid-Funded Abortions

Robin Marty

A new suit on behalf of Minnesota "taxpayers," alleges the state has been misauthorizing funding for poor women seeking pregnancy terminations.

Since the nineties, Minnesota has been one of the few states that provided Medicaid-funded abortions. Following the 1995 case Doe v. Gomez, Minnesota’s supreme court ruled that if the state was to cover costs associated with pregnancy, it must also cover those associated with abortion, or it would place “undue financial constraints,” on women seeking out terminations, essentially limiting the right to an abortion only to those with financial means.

The state’s anti-choice politicians have taken aim at the ruling before, attempting legislation to end “taxpayer funding” of abortions in an attempt to challenge Doe, but even in the most recent attempt, when the state had the greatest number of anti-choice legislators in history, the legislation was vetoed by the governor. Now, Minnesota Family Council, one of the biggest opponents to Doe’s decision, has found a new way to try and change the law. Start a new lawsuit.

Attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense League) have filed a suit alleging that Minnesota has wrongfuly paid for as many as 37,000 abortions since the year 1999 that should not have been covered.

According to their press release:

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Minnesota can only use public funds for abortions that are defined as medically necessary, but government reporting statistics clearly demonstrate that tax dollars have paid for thousands of elective abortions for indigent women, including a disproportionate number performed on African-Americans. More than 40 percent of publicly funded abortions were carried out on African-Americans even though they account for just over 5 percent of the state’s population.

“The critical taxpayer dollars of Minnesotans should not be used for medically unnecessary abortions, nor should such funding be used to take the lives of more African-American babies than other babies,” said lead counsel Chuck Shreffler, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom.

There’s one glaring error, however — Minnesota does not say that its funds can only be used for “medically necessary” abortions. In fact, even their own anti-choice allies, groups such as Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, admit that there are no restrictions on Medicaid-funded abortion in the state.

In its 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that women have an absolute “right” to abortion. The Court also ruled that taxpayers must pay for abortions performed on women who cannot afford them. Consequently, our state’s abortion policy is the most extreme in the nation!

Why is Alliance Defending Freedom then filing such an obviously frivolous lawsuit, and one based on such a glaring lie that even their advocates know is false? Obviously, this is a stunt intended to “remind” citizens that Doe exists, and that state funding is used to pay for abortions, a fact that anti-choice factions hope will generate sympathies for their side since so many other restrictions have lost them supporters.

The press release itself is charge with racial overtones, mentioning from the start that the plaintiffs are African American and drawing up data that a large section of the Medicaid-funded abortions are provided to women of color—a statement that should surprise no one considering they represent a larger share of Medicaid recipients than they do of the state population.

Is the lawsuit an actual, meaningful challenge, or just a ploy to get “taxpayer funding” and a “abortion focuses on minorities” talking point out in the media? Considering the escalation that anti-choice activists have enacted after their massive election day losses, it’s fairly safe to assume it’s the latter.

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