Minnesota Lawmakers Push Abortion and Gender Ideology with Passage of 800-Page Omnibus
Recently, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) signed the “One Minnesota Budget” into law. Totaling approximately $72 billion dollars, the budget is comprised of 12 bills. Most concerning is the state’s Health and Human Services appropriations Omnibus bill (SF 2995) that passed in both the House and Senate along party lines. The House passed the bill on May 22, the last day of Minnesota’s biennial legislative session.
The proposal earned pushback from House Republicans, who received it the night before the last day of Minnesota’s legislative session. Republicans also cited frustration that the bill was written with little to no opportunity for feedback in conference committee and that they received the text less than 24 hours before the vote was held.
The over 800-page omnibus bill guts long-standing pro-life protections while inserting gender ideology at every turn.
Renee Carlson, general counsel for True North Legal, an initiative of the Minnesota Family Council, criticized the bill’s promotion of abortion and gender identity ideology. “Based on elusive claims about access to abortion and with insufficient public notice or debate, the Minnesota legislature and Walz administration created one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the country. Minnesota’s newly elected Democratic trifecta created a fundamental right to abortion by repealing, and thus removing, nearly all health and safety protections in civil and criminal law regulating abortion, impacting women and young girls.”
She continued, “Other provisions in the bill reflect an aggressive push by the newly elected majorities in the House and Senate, in concert with Governor Walz and his administration, to force aggressive gender ideology and gender policies on all Minnesotans.”
Most notably, the bill took out language that would require medical providers to preserve the life and health of an infant born alive as a result of a failed abortion. It also removed much of the state’s long-standing reporting requirements on actions taken to preserve the life of an infant born alive during an abortion and whether the infant survived.
Representative Tina Liebling (D), the bill’s author in the House, spoke in defense of removing born-alive language at the conclusion of the floor debate. Liebling stated that decisions about medical care are not always “save the patient at all costs” and “the idea that every infant that is born alive should have intensive intervention is also false.”
The appropriations bill also significantly increased funding for abortion. The state’s health care program, MinnesotaCare, will now cover abortion for any reason.
The state’s grant program was also significantly altered, now allowing grant funds to go to organizations that provide abortions and repealing the Minnesota statute titled the “Positive Abortion Alternatives” program. This program was created to give resources to nonprofit organizations that promote “healthy pregnancy outcomes and assisting pregnant and parenting women in developing and maintaining family stability and self-sufficiency,” according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
The grant program was used by various pregnancy resource centers that provide tangible assistance to mothers and families during pregnancy and after birth. Last year, the grant distributed around $3.4 million to 27 groups around the state. Continuing funding for this program would have cost a mere .004% of the state’s $72 billion total budget. It is evident that the removal of this language does not come from a lack of funds, especially considering the $17.5 billion surplus from the 2022 budget. Defunding the alternatives program is targeted; it confirms Minnesota Democrats’ obsession with abortion and open rejection of supporting women who choose to have and raise their children.
The attack on the family doesn’t end there. For in-patient hospitals holding Medicare certifications, medical assistance will now cover so-called “gender-affirming services.”
A state grant program was revised to fund so-called “sexual and reproductive services,” which are defined to include physical, mental, and social well-being in relation to “sexuality, reproduction, and the reproductive system and its functions and processes.” This definition pushes the idea that biological realities do not define gender.
The Minnesota legislature has made promoting abortion and gender ideology key points of focus in recent months. The first bill introduced in the 2023 legislative session was HF 1, the “Protect Reproductive Options Act,” which codified a right to abortion. The session ended with the passage of the health omnibus bill and two other bills that protect access to so-called “gender-affirming” medical procedures.
Representative Peggy Scott (R) served as one of the major opponents of these radical actions. Scott stated, “It was clear last session that Democrats were focused on pushing their extreme, activist agenda. They removed ‘woman’ from our statutes and replaced it with ‘pregnant person.’ They made it clear that taxpayers can indeed fund sex changes. They provided more funding for abortions while taking funding away from crisis pregnancy centers. The pro-life movement in Minnesota will need to work hard in the coming years to support local crisis pregnancy centers and foster a culture that values life.”
Gwen Charles is a research assistant with Government Affairs at Family Research Council.