Star Tribune, April 30, 2012 by Jennifer Brooks
Gov. Mark Dayton has issued his second veto of an abortion bill in as many weeks.
The governor issued an expected veto Monday of a bill that would have required physicians to be physically present every time an abortion pill like RU-486 is prescribed, and again every time such a pill is swallowed.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, pitched it as a measure meant to protect women’s health in the event of side-effects from the pill. Opponents said RU-486 has a lower rate of side effects than drugs like Viagra or Tylenol and called the measure an infringement on women’s rights.
In his veto letter, Dayton defended the practice of administering drugs, including RU-486, via telemedicine as “safe, accessible and cost-effective for patients.” Only about 50 women a year receive the drugs that way, and Dayton said the proposal would create a new burden for doctors and new barriers for women seeking a legal medical procedure.
“Minnesota’s laws should not target or restrict the constitutional rights of women,” the governor wrote.
The abortion bill was one of two the governor vetoed on Monday. He also rejected legislation that sought to allow Minnesota to opt out “all federal laws, rules, regulations and orders regarding health care,” including the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
“The bill would be a drastic departure from our current system of shared state and federal responsibility for delivering health care services,” Dayton wrote in his veto letter. “It would reverse nearly five decades of federal involvement in health care policy. While certainly not perfect, our current cooperative relationship offers great flexibility to states to operate as laboratories of policy innovation, while satisfying certain basic, minimal federal requirements.”
Last week, Dayton vetoed a bill that would have required the state to inspect abortion clinics.