by Steven Ertelt
March 26, 2008
St. Paul , MN (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life group is upset members of a Minnesota House committee gutted a bill to provide abortion alternatives to women. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life representatives testified before the House Housing Policy and Finance and Public Health Finance Committee only to see the panel remove almost all the funding.
Committee members dismissed the pleas on behalf of pregnant women in need voted 6-5 to strip most funding for the Positive Alternatives Act.
MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau complained about the vote in comments to LifeNews.com.
This heartless attempt to eliminate resources and support for pregnant women exposes the contempt of many legislators for any alternatives to abortion, she said.
Their agenda — to force abortion on low-income women — is draped in an alleged effort to reduce the state budget deficit," Rau said of the reason committee members gave for gutting the bill.
The vote removed $1.9 million from the $2.4 million per year grant program the alternatives bill included and was the only funding target of the committee, Rau explained.
With the removal of the funding, Rau says legislators cut a meaningless one-fifth of one percent of the expected $1 billion budget shortfall.
The Positive Alternatives Act makes service grants available to organizations that provide direct care to pregnant women and their unborn children and provide referrals for services.
Those services include medical attention, nutritional support, housing assistance, adoption services, education and employment assistance, and parenting education and support.
The first grants were awarded in July 2006 to 37 agencies and organizations and grant requests for more than twice the funds awarded demonstrate the enormous need that many pregnant women face in Minnesota, Rau said.
The second round of grantees is expected to be announced in May.
The popular legislation was passed in 2005 by a large majority of the House on a final vote of 112-17
Rau blamed Democratic Reps. Shelley Madore and Ken Tschumper for leading the effort to cut funding.
She called on the full Minnesota House to restore the funding when the bill goes to the floor for debate and a vote.
"The Minnesota House must restore the much-needed Positive Alternatives funds to make sure that pregnant women receive the support and services they need to choose life," she told LifeNews.com.
The bill to gut Positive Alternatives will next be heard by the House Finance Committee on Thursday.
ACTION: Contact your member of the Minnesota House and urge funding to be re-inserted back into the Positive Alternatives bill. Go to https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us for contact information.
Related web sites:
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life – https://www.mccl.org