Hundreds of people who oppose legal abortion gathered outside the Minnesota State Capitol Saturday for the annual "march for life," which commemorates the anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
The group that organized the event, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, wants to pass bills that ban government funding of abortion and prevent abortions where a fetus can feel pain.
Minnesota Republican U.S. Reps. John Kline, Chip Cravaack, Erik Paulsen, and Michele Bachmann told the crowd they support the state bill introduced Friday that would restrict government funding for abortion.
Planned Parenthood opposes the bill introduced Friday. The group's senior director of government and public affairs, Tim Stanley, said the state should stay focused on jobs and the economy.
"If I were a Minnesotan sitting back and listening to this, I'd say, 'Boy, you know our budget doesn't seem to be getting any better in this state. Our job market is stagnant. And here the legislative leadership -- newly enshrined legislative leadership, not even in three weeks, and they're already focusing on divisive social issues. What a shame,'" said Stanley.
Scott Fishbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, disagrees.
"I think it's obvious the Republicans are a big party, a broad party, and they can deal with more than one issue at a time," said Fishbach. "I also think the Republican Party platform was very clear. People knew where the candidates stood on abortion. And they voted pro-life."
Fishbach said the new Republican majority gives people who oppose abortion a real voice in the state Legislature.