Minnesota State Government Shuts Down Over Abortion

  On July 1st, the state of Minnesota was forced to shut down due to a budget impasse.  There were rumors flying through the air on Thursday that a shutdown might be averted, and that the Republicans and the Governor may be close to finding a compromise. But in the end, that compromise never materialized, and one of the reasons was the GOP's fixation on abortion.

Despite claiming that voters elected them to champion their fiscal desires, the new Republican majorities in the House and Senate made sure to put on the table every social issue Minnesotans had been asking them not to focus on.  They pushed for voter ID, for a constitutional amendment on gay marriage, and they passed three different anti-abortion regulations: a 20 week ban, a ban on public funding for abortions, and an attempt to bar money from Planned Parenthood.

Democratic Governor Mark Dayton vetoed each measure, and not one of them was overridden.

But when it came to 11th hour negotiations, and a still lingering gap between the GOP and Governor's proposals, the Governor offered to accept deferring school payments again, an accounting trick used over and over again in the state's past budgets, and agreed to table his new tax on the richest 2 percent of Minnesotans, instead asking for an increase on just those Minnesotans who make more than $1 million a year -- 7700 residents.

To counter, the Republicans asked for a slew of social issues they knew the Governor would never agree to, including most of their abortion restrictions.

A 20 week abortion ban that would affect just a handful of Minnesota women, most of them with wanted pregnancies.  A ban on public funding for abortion, despite the fact that the State Supreme Court ruled in 1995 that all poor women have the right to an abortion and the state must provide the money.  The GOP asked for these measures they knew the Governor would never agree to, so they could claim they were negotiating in good faith.

And in the end, the state is shut down over abortion.

RH Reality Check / By Robin Marty

Posted at July 6, 2011, 3:00am