Tuesday, May 19, 2009

MCCL posts gains in 2009 Minnesota legislative session

The 2009 legislative session ended yesterday with two key victories for the pro-life movement: full funding for Positive Alternatives and a ban on taxpayer funding of human cloning. These achievements are particularly significant because of lawmakers’ attentiveness to the state budget.

Positive Alternatives was passed by the Legislature in 2005 to establish a grant program through the Minnesota Department of Health. Grants are given to life-affirming organizations offering essential services like medical attention for the woman and the unborn child, nutritional services, housing assistance, adoption services, education and employment assistance, child care assistance, and parenting education and support services.

Positive Alternatives funding was expected to be cut due to the state budget shortfall. However, members of all parties understood the crucial nature of the program and both the House and Senate recommended full funding for Positive Alternatives in their Health and Human Services (HHS) omnibus bills. The final HHS bill was signed into law by Gov. Pawlenty last week.

The language to ban funding of human cloning was successfully amended into the higher education funding bill, S.F. 2083, in both the House and Senate. The provision proved to be contentious in Conference Committee negotiations, but ultimately was kept in the final version of the bill. Pawlenty signed the bill on Saturday, May 16.

The language prohibits the University of Minnesota from using taxpayer dollars to pursue human cloning. The U of M’s Stem Cell Institute in Minneapolis is conducting embryo-destructive experiments and is believed to be pursuing human cloning for research purposes.

MCCL is grateful to state legislators and our 70,000 member families for their efforts in support of Positive Alternatives funding and the cloning funding ban since the session began in January. Citizens’ phone calls, emails, letters and meetings with their state lawmakers were critical to passage of these protective provisions. Women have been empowered to choose life, and lives will be saved.