Republican lawmakers sought tougher restrictions on abortions Monday, approving two bills in the House that would bar the use of state funds for abortion services and create a state permitting system for abortion facilities.
They face a tough path through Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. The governor vetoed similar regulatory legislation in 2012 and said earlier in the session he would oppose any bills that limit women's access to abortions.
The bill to regulate abortion facilities was overhauled after abortion rights advocates testified in committee that it put an undue burden on facilities to comply with unrealistic standards. The new version would require the state's health department to award permits to nationally accredited facilities that follow evidence-based clinical standards. Facilities would be subject to random inspections and the permit would be good for two years.
Democrats focused most of their ire on the permitting bill, even as Republicans said they had changed it to give greater voice to providers as they navigate the permitting process. GOP lawmakers said abortion providers would be able to choose the national accreditation rules they follow and providers such as local Planned Parenthood facilities would be able to use their own national policy guidelines when seeking a permit.