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DFL efforts to pass abortion, reproductive health bills blocked by GOP-led Senate

The push to pass a slate of abortion and healthcare-related bills comes after a leaked Supreme Court opinion draft indicated Roe v Wade will be overturned.
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A DFL push to pass a slate of abortion and reproductive health bills has failed in the Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate.

Senate DFL leader Melisa López Franzen (DFL-Edina) said her party made a push to further nine bills through the chamber Thursday. The bills included a measure to codify the right to an abortion in Minnesota.

The push comes as Democrats across the country have pushed for similar legislation after a leaked Supreme Court draft indicated that the court will overturn Roe v Wade.

Nationally, Democrats brought a bill to the Senate that would have codified the right to an abortion. The bill failed without the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster, with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin joining all Republicans in opposing the bill.

In Minnesota, the bills weren’t given a hearing in Republican-controlled committees, according to an announcement from Franzen.

Other measures included in the bills would have required healthcare plans to cover contraception and established paid family and medical leave in the state.

In order to move the bills out of committee, they would need to pass a floor vote on the Senate. On Thursday, DFLers brought the bills to the floor, where they hold 31 seats, short of the 41 votes needed to pass the bills, the Star Tribune notes.

None of the bills passed with a floor vote, and Republican members opted not to debate the bills. Still, several DFL members voiced support for the legislation.

“Our actions today were designed to communicate the urgency of this fight and to show Minnesotans which side of this debate we are on, and which side the Republican majority is on," Franzen said in a statement. 

"Their silence during the debate spoke volumes to us and to millions of Minnesotans." 

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Even when Roe v. Wade is overturned, Minnesota has its own, stronger legal protections for abortions in the form of Doe v. Gomez. However there is the potential for this to be challenged particularly if the Republican Party win both the Minnesota House and the Senate and the governor's house in this November's elections.

Minnesota's Republican politicians are typically opposed to allowing abortions, including the leading candidates for the GOP nomination in this year's governor race.

There is also disagreements on how to handle paid family leave. Democrats widely supporting a state-run family and medical leave insurance program funded via the payroll tax, while the GOP prefers offering tax credits to businesses who offer paid family leave.

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