Minnesota Legislature, Governor Pawlenty Commit to Funding Abortion Alternatives

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Minnesota Legislature, Governor Pawlenty Commit to Funding Abortion Alternatives

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 15
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Thanks to the Minnesota legislature and pro-life Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, the state’s Positive Alternatives program remains fully funded for the 2009-2010 biennium. The program has been credited with helping lower the number of abortions done on poor women in the state.

Positive Alternatives funding was expected to be cut due to the state budget shortfall.

However, both the state House and Senate recommended full funding for Positive Alternatives in their Health and Human Services bills and Pawlenty signed the bill into law Thursday night.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life worked tirelessly with legislators of both parties to ensure that pregnant girls and women would continue to find the help they need to bring their pregnancies to term through organizations funded by the Positive Alternatives grant program.

“Positive Alternatives is one of Minnesota’s most essential and successful programs for women,” MCCL director Scott Fischbach told LifeNews.com.

“This modest program offers a lifeline to women in need every day across the state, and MCCL is pleased that lawmakers—both Democrats and Republicans—agreed on the importance of keeping funding intact," he said.

Positive Alternatives was passed by the Minnesota legislature in 2005 to establish a grant program through the Minnesota Department of Health.

Grants are given to life-affirming organizations offering essential services in the following areas: 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.

A total of 37 organizations received $4.7 million in grants in 2006. The second round of grants ($4.7 million) was awarded to 31 grantees in July 2008.

More than 12,000 women were helped during the first two years of the grant program and Fischbach told LifeNews.com their stories reveal that Positive Alternatives is fulfilling a critical need in the lives of women.

“Minnesota women and their unborn babies now have a strong safety net beneath them, thanks to Positive Alternatives,” Fischbach said. “This bipartisan, consensus program is empowering thousands of women to choose life for their unborn children.”

An April report showed fewer abortions and less tax money spent on abortions in the state thanks to the program.

Taxpayers have been forced to pay for abortions since the Minnesota Supreme Court’s 1995 Doe v. Gomez ruling found a “right” to abortion in the Minnesota Constitution and also required taxpayers to fund abortions for low-income women.

Even as total abortions decline, the report finds Planned Parenthood has increased the number of abortions it performs on low-income women. The 10 percent increase in 2007 is part of a 125 percent increase since 2000 that Fischbach says demonstrates that Planned Parenthood targets poor women for abortion.

“It is long past time for Planned Parenthood to end its exploitation of low-income and minority women,” Fischbach said.

Since the Doe v. Gomez ruling, taxpayers have paid $14,126,689 for a total of 47,115 abortion procedure claims. Prior to the court decision, taxpayers were charged about $7,000 per year for about 23 abortions in the rare cases in which the state paid for abortions.

MCCL is working to pass a ban on taxpayer funded abortion but has had a tough road in the legislature.

Related web sites:
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life – https://www.mccl.org

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