Governor Dayton of Minnesota has vetoed a bill passed by the state legislature that would have required that any facility which performs ten or more abortions per month to be licensed by the Minnesota Commissioner of Health and that the annual licensing fee be $3,712.  The fee would be used to cover the licensing process and the inspections of the abortion clinics. The clinics could be subject to up to two surprise inspections per year and a clinic could lose its license if it would found to have engaged in fraud, dangerous health practices or illegal activity.

Governor Dayton defended his veto, saying that the language was “inappropriate and unworkable” and that it was unfair to single out abortion clinics. He veto message said that “If regulation of clinics were the concern, the bill should have required licensure of all clinics, not just a select few.” Dayton also complained that a lack of oversight at abortion clinics was “not an issue” in Minnesota and he noted that other state agencies that oversaw building codes, workplace safety, and physician licensure were adequate. Governor Dayton also cited as an insurer of clinic safety the National Abortion Federation, which, he noted: “sets clinical policy for performing abortions.”

Governor Dayton’s reliance on the National Abortion Federation may have been a poor idea. In 2011, the organization was caught in a firestorm when it came to light that its representatives were aware of dreadful conditions at a Philadelphia abortion clinic. The director of that clinic, Kermit Gosnell, is now on trial for the murder of one of the women upon whom abortions were performed and the murder of seven newly born babies (not fetuses.)

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