ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation is expected to find support in Minnesota's Republican-controlled Legislature despite opposition from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
The legislation introduced Monday is modeled on a first-in-the-nation Nebraska law enacted last year. At least seven states are considering similar bans as new GOP legislative majorities raise the abortion issue in a changed political landscape.
The Star Tribune reports that Dayton's position in clear: He spoke in February to an abortion-rights group at the Capitol.
"I can assure you that nothing as extreme that violates that basic fundamental right -- and it is a Constitutional right as established by the United States Supreme Court -- will be enacted with my signature," he said then. "It will not happen here in Minnesota."
Lawmakers could attempt to override a Dayton veto if Democratic abortion rights opponents joined GOP majorities in both legislative chambers. Republicans took control of both the Minnesota Senate and House this year for the first time in nearly four decades.
An override would require support from at least 18 House Democrats and eight Senate Democrats.
The bill's supporters say the 20-week threshold is the point when developing fetuses can feel pain. Studies are divided on that question.
The proposal would make an exception for women who would risk death or serious physical harm by carrying a pregnancy to term, but there would be no exceptions for victims of rape or incest or for psychological or emotional suffering.
State Health Department data shows that fewer than 2 percent of more than 12,000 abortions performed in Minnesota in 2009 involved fetuses older than 20 weeks. Abortion rights groups said those cases often involve fetuses with fatal medical conditions.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)