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Minnesota Accused of Billing Taxpayers for Abortions Not Allowed for Under State Law

ST. PAUL, MN – Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a suit in Minnesota’s 2nd Judicial District in which it claims state officials have illegally spent millions of taxpayer dollars over the last few years for abortions. ADF says the state funds have been spent on abortions that do not qualify for government subsidies under state law.

The case filed on behalf of several Minnesotans alleges that the Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson has paid for nearly 40,000 abortions that do not qualify for public assistance.

ADF explained that public funds in Minnesota can be used for abortions only when they are defined as medically necessary. But government reports there obtained by ADF show that of the 47,095 abortions funded by the state, “at most 10,044 abortions were performed for reasons that could qualify as therapeutic.”

Legal reasons for state funded abortions in Minnesota include when a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or the woman’s emotional or physical health is at stake. But state reports indicate that thousands of abortions were performed for “economic reasons,” the fact the mother “does not want children at this time” and “other,” none of which should qualify for tax funding.

“Minnesota can only use public funds for abortions that are defined as medically necessary, but government reporting statistics clearly demonstrate that tax dollars have paid for thousands of elective abortions for indigent women, including a disproportionate number performed on African-Americans. More than 40 percent of publicly funded abortions were carried out on African-Americans even though they account for just over 5 percent of the state’s population,” the organization said.

“The critical taxpayer dollars of Minnesotans should not be used for medically unnecessary abortions, nor should such funding be used to take the lives of more African-American babies than other babies,” said lead counsel Chuck Shreffler, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom.

“The reporting statistics are unambiguous,” added ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, co-counsel in the case. “The state is indisputably funding medically unnecessary abortions in violation of state law, and 40 percent of the abortions are being executed on African-Americans even though they make up only 5 percent of the state’s population. This lawsuit intends to stop this from continuing.”

ADF says Minnesota taxpayers paid for 47,095 abortions performed on indigent women from 1999 through 2011. Statistics from the Minnesota Department of Health show only 10,044 of the abortions were done for a “medically necessary” reason.

Shreffler said the state health agency is “going far beyond” what is allowed. The state of Minnesota “has been expending public funds … without appropriation, in violation of Article XI, Section I, of the Minnesota Constitution by paying for over 37,000 non-therapeutic abortions performed on indigent women from 1999 through 2011,” the complaint reads.

“Despite the court’s holding in Gomez that ‘this court’s decision will not permit any woman eligible for medical assistance to obtain an abortion ‘on demand,” that is precisely what has occurred, and continues to occur, in practice,” the case says.

ADF is seeking an injunction “directing DHS to cease all public expenditures for abortions until DHS can demonstrate that public funds no longer will be expended for non-therapeutic abortions.” The action also seeks a determination that funds that have been overpaid over the years should be repaid to the state.

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