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Taxpayers considering appeal after dismissal of challenge to Minn. abortion scheme

Lawsuit seeks to stop unauthorized abortion funding
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Court of Appeals Monday upheld the dismissal of a taxpayer lawsuit that challenges the unauthorized use of state funds to pay for abortions on demand.

“Minnesota taxpayers should not be forced to pay for medically unnecessary abortions, especially when state law has not authorized it,” said lead counsel Chuck Shreffler, one of more than 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “The facts overwhelmingly demonstrate the misuse of taxpayer funds, so we are considering a possible appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

“The Minnesota Supreme Court’s 1995 decision that expanded abortion funding nonetheless made clear that its decision ‘will not permit any woman eligible for medical assistance to obtain an abortion ‘on demand,’” added ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. “But the government’s own statistics prove this is precisely what is happening.”

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys filed the lawsuit Walker v. Jesson in 2012 on behalf of two African-American taxpayers who are challenging the unauthorized use of state funding for elective abortions. The Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in February regarding whether the case should be reinstated after a trial judge dismissed it.

In 1995, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the state can provide funding for abortions that are medically necessary or the result of rape and incest, but not for elective abortions. Since then, however, the Minnesota Department of Health Services has used taxpayer funds to provide an alarming number of elective abortions.

Additionally, taxpayer-funded abortions are disproportionately affecting the African-American community: 40 percent of Minnesota abortions are being committed against African-Americans even though they make up only 5 percent of the state’s population.

As the opening brief filed with the Court of Appeals in September of last year explained, the Department of Health Services is violating the Minnesota Supreme Court’s 1995 order because the department “is funding elective, non-therapeutic abortions on indigent women. This factual allegation is based on abortion data collected from abortion providers and reported by another state agency, the Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH”). These statistics show that the number of abortions paid for by the Commissioner of DHS significantly exceeds the numbers of abortions reported to MDH as therapeutic. The MDH data is collected from the very same abortion providers who seek reimbursement for these same abortions from DHS.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Lorence (LOHR’-ents)


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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Jordan Lorence
Jordan Lorence
Senior Counsel, Director of Strategic Engagement
Jordan Lorence serves as senior counsel and director of strategic engagement with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he plays a key role with the Strategic Relations and Training Team.