by Gordy Gustafson, Minnesota NOW Political Action Committee Chair
Minnesota NOW is outraged that in the 2011 session the Minnesota legislature, with bipartisan support, passed bills restricting women’s fundamental rights.
The two bills dealing with women’s access to abortion services are un-Minnesotan. The first bill, which effectively bans abortion after the 20th week from fertilization, would have stopped abortions before viability in direct violation of women’s rights under Roe v Wade. Additionally, this bill would have made it a felony for doctors to perform abortions after the 20th week, forcing some women to have dangerous illegal abortions. Minnesota cannot return to the days of back-alley butchers!
The second abortion bill, which limits state funding for abortion services for women with limited economic means with only rare exceptions, sets up an un-Minnesotan class system that says wealthy women have the right to healthcare and the right to control their bodies, but poor women do not. In Minnesota, we support – not punish – the economically disadvantaged!
The amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution that would limit marriage to one man and one woman is out of line with Minnesota’s priorities. Far from being pro-family, this amendment will harm LGBT families and their children who are denied the legal protections of civil marriage. In these days of heightened awareness of the consequences of bullying, we must be aware of the message this sends to Minnesota’s LGBT youth. Discrimination should never be part of the Minnesota Constitution!
The bill that would have required Minnesotans to obtain a government issued photo ID before voting would have suppressed the vote in Minnesota – specifically for the elderly, the economically disadvantaged, the student population, and those who are highly mobile. Just like property requirements, poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and other barriers to voting were eliminated long ago, this type of legislation should be relegated to the ash heap of history. In Minnesota, we have a proud tradition of protecting the right to vote and high voter participation. Minnesota NOW opposes any law that puts the right to vote in jeopardy.
Minnesota NOW thanks our state legislators who stood up for women’s right to have access to safe, legal abortions; the right to civil marriage; and the right to vote —and vows to fight the re-election of every legislator who voted against the human rights of Minnesotans.
With profound gratitude, Minnesota NOW thanks Governor Mark Dayton for doing all that he can to protect women’s fundamental rights. Thank you, Governor Dayton, for vetoing the bills restricting women’s right to obtain safe, legal abortions; for symbolically vetoing the proposed Minnesota Constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples; and for vetoing the bill that would have suppressed voter participation in the State of Minnesota.
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