Abortion remains a top priority at the Capitol
BY World's Editorials Writers
Friday, February 15, 2013
2/15/13 at 7:00 AM
Not surprisingly, lawmakers are advancing more abortion-related legislation this session. A committee has approved two new measures, one making it harder for minors to get an abortion without parental consent, and another adding even more questions to the state's already onerous abortion reporting form.
If only our lawmakers would pursue other goals as zealously as they do the abortion issue, what an outstanding and enviable place this could be. But no, they'd rather allow needs such as education, health care and public safety to languish, because somewhere there might be a desperate teenager impregnated by her father who must be forced to continue her pregnancy.
One of the bills approved by the committee, House Bill 1588, would do away with the "judicial bypass" provision in state law that allows teens to ask a judge, rather than a parent, for approval to get an abortion.
The whole point of judicial bypass, the sole reason it became law across the country, was to allow teens who might have been the victims of sexual abuse to avoid having to ask her abuser for permission to obtain the procedure
But lawmakers endorsing the measure think they know better than a judge whether these young women should be allowed to terminate their pregnancies. Rep. Mike Ritze, for example, pointed out that only nine judicial petitions out of 3,573 filed over a four-and-a-half year period in Minnesota were denied, so he assumes there must be abuse of the system. And how would he know that?
Also approved was HB 2015, which would add more questions to the Individual Abortion Form that must be filled out to obtain an abortion. This form already was so intrusive it's hard to imagine what questions might have been left out two years ago when the reporting law was first passed.
The idea of the reporting law (supposedly) was to identify reasons for abortions with the aim of addressing the underlying factors. So why not wait to see if the reporting law is achieving this goal before modifying it?
The answer is lawmakers are only interested in the politics of abortion, not reasonable measures to reduce it. We'd hope that some day, they'll exhaust the possibilities for abortion-related legislation, but that doesn't seem likely in this state.
Original Print Headline: More of same