Capitol Comments: Program should receive support from all sides

Published 8:00 pm Friday, March 1, 2019

Capitol Comments by District 27A Rep. Peggy Bennett, Albert Lea

State Rep. Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, represents Minnesota House District 27A, which includes almost all of Freeborn County, along with parts of Faribault, Mower, Steele and Dodge counties. She can be reached by phone at 651-296-8216 or by email at rep.

On Feb. 25, the U.S. Senate failed to approve the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would have protected newborns that survive botched abortions by requiring appropriate care and admission to a hospital.

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This is heartbreaking to me, and is just the latest pro-life setback to have gained attention recently. Previously, we learned of measures from New York and Virginia regarding laws that basically allow the legal killing of a child up to and even right after birth if the doctor and mother agree.

Peggy Bennett

I spent 33 years as an elementary school teacher and I loved it, because I love children. I had the daily blessing of looking into the sparkling eyes of my first-graders, so full of life. Sometimes I would wonder, which of these precious children would not want to be here; which would not want a chance at life? None of them would say that they wish they’d been cut off in the womb before they had a chance to live, which is why I can be nothing other than pro-life.

That said, I also believe that a person should not just be anti-abortion. Women who may face precarious situations need some support to help them not only through pregnancy, but through the early years with their children.

That’s why I have authored legislation this session that would modify the eligibility for the Positive Abortion Alternatives Grant Program and provide nearly $700,000 to help organizations that help women who did not wish to become pregnant.

Rachel’s Hope in neighboring Austin is an outstanding example of a pregnancy center that is bringing more compassionate support to women. Not only does this organization connect women to resources — ultrasounds, clothing, diapers and education on how to raise a child — but it gives women hope and saves a baby’s life.

In addition to coming alongside pregnant women in precarious situations, we should also be looking at ways to make adoption an affordable, safe, secure and positive option for unwanted pregnancies.

Since the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, there have been over 60 million abortions in the United States. That is 60 million babies who have lost their lives. That number is a fact, and it breaks my heart.

It saddens me that as a society we work hard to protect eagle eggs and turtle eggs, but we won’t protect a fetus in the womb. I firmly believe that life is precious from conception until natural death, and that promoting the Positive Abortion Alternatives Grant Program is something both pro-choice and pro-life Minnesotans should be able to come together to support.