NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Executive Director, Andrea Ledger, wrote a Letter to the Editor that was published yesterday in the Pioneer Press. Check out the post here. Below is the letter that was published.


WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE

At the Minnesota Legislature this year, and on Donald Trump’s campaign trail, we have seen a surge of attacks on women’s health care. As if this were not enough, there is now proposed state legislation that targets abortion clinics in hopes of shutting them down. These bills seek to add burdensome and medically unnecessary regulations to abortion clinics and, if enacted, would force four of the five Minnesota abortion clinics to close their doors. Instead of passing bills that address the needs of women and families, like 12-month prescription contraceptive coverage and paid family leave, anti-choice legislators remain focused on limiting access to safe and legal abortions.

Let’s be clear. These new abortion clinic regulation bills, as stated by the medical community, are medically unnecessary, and the new regulations border on absurdity, like requiring specific temperature settings for various parts of the building. The true goal of passing this legislation is to shut down abortion clinics. If abortion clinics close, women, especially in rural Minnesota, would lose access to safe abortion procedures.

Legislators should be working to ensure that abortions remain safe and to help families plan for pregnancies and their children. Providing 12-month prescription contraceptive coverage for women and providing parents paid family leave after the birth or adoption of a child are two critical issues that should be signed into law.

Access to a 12-month supply of prescription contraceptive coverage is a common-sense solution that will prevent unwanted pregnancies. A 2012 study showed a 46 percent decline in abortion rates among women who were given access to a year’s supply of contraceptives.

The other issue being ignored by some legislators is paid family leave. The Minnesota Senate passed SF 2558, which creates an insurance program that provides up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement during family leave. This program will make it easier for both mothers and fathers to care for new children. It’s time for the House to act on this important issue.

Minnesota legislators need to focus on issues that make a positive impact on the well-being of families and women. Giving women access to 12-month prescription contraception coverage and allowing parents to care for their new child without the worry of losing a paycheck does that. Wasting time debating ventilation systems at clinics providing abortions might be a priority of Donald Trump and his supporters at the Legislature, but it is certainly not a priority of Minnesota.

Andrea Ledger
Executive Director
NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota

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