Friday, March 25, 2011

Legislation advances to prevent cloning, protect pain-capable unborn children

ST. PAUL — Legislation to prevent human cloning and to protect unborn babies capable of feeling pain advanced this week at the state Capitol in St. Paul. Hearings on the pro-life measures enabled Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) to explain the purposes of the bills.

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, S.F. 649 and H.F. 936, would prohibit abortions after the point in pregnancy at which an unborn child can feel pain, which medical evidence demonstrates is (conservatively) 20 weeks from conception. It is based on a landmark Nebraska law enacted last year, which has not been challenged in court. The bill was heard by the House Civil Law Committee on Monday, March 21.

During her testimony, MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau first held up a diaper intended for a newborn, then a preemie diaper less than one-fourth the size of the first one. "These are the diapers used for babies who are born at 20 to 22 weeks — the same age of the unborn babies this legislation would protect," she explained.

Carolyn Jackson, a lobbyist who testified on behalf of the Minnesota ACLU, declared that her organization "believes that life begins at birth," and therefore the unborn child does not deserve the protection the bill would provide. The ACLU position contradicts both science and the law, which affirm life in the womb. Modern medical textbooks state that a unique human life begins at the moment of conception. And previous U.S. Supreme Court and lower court decisions recognize states’ compelling interest in protecting the lives of unborn children precisely because they are alive and human.

Hearings have not yet been scheduled for the Senate version.

The Senate Higher Education Committee passed the Human Cloning Prohibition Act, S.F. 695 and H.F. 998, on Monday. The legislation would would ban human cloning in Minnesota in order to prevent the production and destruction of human beings for experiments. A ban on taxpayer funding of human cloning was added to the Higher Education appropriations bill on Wednesday by committee members.

In addition, MCCL recognizes today as the International Day of the Unborn Child. Nations across the globe, including those in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa, are holding special marches and festivals to celebrate and call for greater protections for unborn children.