Governor Tim Pawlenty is getting credit from the pro-life organization in his state with paving the way for today’s announcement by the Minnesota health department that abortions have dropped again to a historic low.
As LifeNews.com reported, Minnesota abortions dropped another seven percent to their lowest levels since 1975, thanks in part to an innovative law the former governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate signed that paves the way for state funding for groups that provide women with abortion alternatives. The Positive Alternatives program has provided thousands of women practical pregnancy support and assistance — women who may otherwise have felt they had no financial option other than abortion in an unplanned pregnancy situation.
“Pro-life laws save lives and the legislation that Governor Pawlenty signed into law directly is saving lives in our state,” Minnesota Citizens for Life executive director Scott Fischbach told LifeNews.com.
“Under Governor Pawlenty’s leadership we now have the lowest abortion number and rate since 1975,” he said. “Last year’s decrease of 7.1% was the biggest drop since 1983. We also saw a 16.8% drop in minors abortions — these drops don’t occur in these hard economic times without pro-life laws being in place.”
“Governor Pawlenty was a stalwart pro-life leader who enacted pro-life laws and today, thousands of Minnesotans are alive because of his love of life,” he added.
Alex Conant, the Pawlenty presidential campaign press secretary, told LifeNews that the former Minnesota governor is proud of his record and appreciates seeing the results of the pro-life legislation he implemented with the state legislature during his tenure, which ended earlier this year.
“As Governor, Tim Pawlenty supported and enacted several important pro-life measures, including the Woman’s Right to Know Act, the Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act and the Positive Alternatives Act, which have made a significant difference,” Conant said. “The Governor believes we must take it upon ourselves to protect all life, from unborn to the elderly. He is proud of the work we did in Minnesota to move the state in a pro-life direction.”
The annual Abortion Report shows a total of 11,505 abortions were done in Minnesota in 2010, more than seven percent fewer than the 12,388 done in 2009. The 2010 total is the lowest number on record since two years after the Roe v. Wade decision released by the U.S. Supreme Court struck down pro-life laws protecting women and unborn children across the country.
The report covering abortions from last year covers the final full year of Pawlenty’s two terms as Minnesota’s governor.
During his time as governor, Pawlenty built up a sterling pro-life record and worked closely with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life to advocate the pro-life position.
He named Eric Magnuson, an attorney who has worked with pro-life groups, the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and told Minnesota agencies to reject Obamacare, which could fund abortions. He signed the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which requires informed consent and a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion. The law was the strongest informed consent law in the country at the time, and Minnesota was the first state in the nation to ensure that women be provided with information on the ability of their unborn child to feel pain.
Pawlenty also signed into law the Positive Alternatives program passed by the state legislature in 2005 with the support of pro-life groups. The law, which provides state funding for pregnancy centers that help women with pregnancy support and abortion alternatives, has already proven successful in lowering the number of abortions.
The Minnesota Department of Health shows 13,037 women received services from the Positive Alternatives grant during the second grant cycle of the program, running from July 2008 through June 2010. More than 12,000 pregnant women were helped during the first two-year grant cycle, July 2006-June 2008. The Pawlenty-supported positive alternatives program is credited with dropping Minnesota abortions, in 2009, to the lowest point since 1975.
In April 2010, Pawlenty declared the month as Abortion Recovery/Awareness Month to help women negatively affected by their abortions.
Pawlenty also pleased pro-life advocates on bioethics issues by vetoing the Kahn-Cohen Cloning Bill in May 2008, which would have legalized human cloning and forced taxpayers to pay for the destruction of human life. He also signed, in May 2009, a bill to ban taxpayer funding of human cloning.
“We stand for protecting life and want to promote and celebrate a culture of life in Minnesota and in the United States of America. We stand up for those who have no voice,” Pawlenty has said. “We have a responsibility to defend the life of the innocent and the powerless. We must take it upon ourselves to protect all individuals in every stage of life, from the unborn to the elderly.”
Pawlenty’s track record has won him accolades from pro-life advocates, with Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser saying “The governor’s actions on behalf of Minnesota women and unborn children are exemplary.”
Scott Fischbach of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life added, “Under the leadership of Gov. Pawlenty, Minnesota now has the lowest teen abortion rate ever, and the lowest number of abortions performed since 1975. I know first-hand the lives that Tim Pawlenty saved as my governor.”