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Abortion restrictions advance in Minn. Legislature

ST. PAUL — New restrictions on abortion are advancing in the Legislature.

A Senate health panel on Tuesday approved proposals to prohibit abortion starting at 20 weeks gestation and to ban public funding of abortion. The ban on public funding also cleared a House panel.

The climate is different at the Capitol after Republicans took control of both chambers this year. Abortion opponents are energized after years of legislative setbacks when Democrats were in charge.

But the bills are unlikely to become law because Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton supports abortion rights.

The bill banning abortions later in pregnancy makes exceptions to save a woman's life or prevent irreversible physical harm, but not for rape, incest or mental health conditions. The ban on public funding would apply to state-funded public health programs.

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