ST. PAUL, Minnesota — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed the state of Minnesota was wrongfully charged for more than 37,000 abortions for indigent women.
A conservative legal group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, claimed when it filed the lawsuit last November that the state Department of Human Services was paying for abortions for women on medical assistance that weren't medically necessary, without the legal authority to do so. The lawsuit alleged that the state was failing to adequately review whether those abortions were really performed for "therapeutic reasons," which state statutes and case law define as meaning medically necessary or if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
But Ramsey County Chief District Judge Kathleen Gearin dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice last week, meaning it can't be filed again.
In an order dated last Thursday, Gearin ruled that the department's decision to rely on a doctor's assurance that a patient is seeking an abortion for legitimate therapeutic reasons is "neither illegal nor unreasonable." Ruling otherwise requires the court to get "excessively entangled" in the department's operations and polices, she said.
"The procedure set up by DHS is the exercise of its discretion may not be perfect, but it does ensure that the woman's right to privacy in consulting with her doctor about a difficult decision is protected," she concluded.
The department issued a statement saying it was pleased with the judge's order.
But Jordan Lorence, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said his group was disappointed and "seriously contemplating an appeal."