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Alarming number of elective abortions on Minn. taxpayer’s dime

Appeal filed over unauthorized state funding for elective abortions that disproportionately affects black Minnesotans
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Baby's Feet

MINNEAPOLIS — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys filed an appeal Monday on behalf of two African-American taxpayers in Minnesota who are challenging the unauthorized use of state funding for elective abortions. In May, a trial judge dismissed the lawsuit.

“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 more than 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. “The Minnesota Supreme Court was clear in ruling that taxpayers should not be stuck with the bill for abortions ‘on demand.’”

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.

From 1999 through 2011, Minnesota taxpayers paid for 47,095 abortions performed on indigent women, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The data indicates that, at most, only 10,044 of these abortions were done for a “medically necessary” reason, meaning that the state paid for more than 37,000 unauthorized abortions. The statistics regarding the number of abortions performed on African-Americans also came from the Department of Health.

“The state is funding medically unnecessary abortions in violation of state law. The reporting statistics clearly demonstrate this,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, who is co-counsel in Walker v. Jesson, filed in November 2012. “In addition, 40 percent of the abortions are being committed on African-Americans even though they make up only 5 percent of the state’s population. Our clients rightfully and understandably want to stop this from continuing.”

In the late 1970s, the Minnesota Legislature passed a statute limiting the abortions for which it would pay and prohibited taxpayer funding for elective abortions. In 1995, the Minnesota Supreme Court struck down the statute and ruled in Doe v. Gomez that the state cannot withhold state funding for medically necessary abortions. The ruling made clear, however, that “this court’s decision will not permit any woman eligible for medical assistance to obtain an abortion ‘on demand.’”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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