The House committee hearing this afternoon went REALLY well! Representative Carolyn Laine introduced the bill (HF3151) and explained the need for it. Heather Halen, a resident of Minneapolis whose husband died last fall, shared her experience of caring for his body at home. Her eloquent description of what it meant to have him nearby, to visit during sleepless nights and talk to, was riveting. She wished that more people could have been included in this profound and sacred experience, a wish that would be realized by passage of this bill which would lift restrictions on the public viewing of unembalmed bodies.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease, testified as to the safety of having the public view an unembalmed body and be involved on the care of it. He said that pathogens died quickly after the death of the body.
The committee members asked several questions and then the vote was taken. The bill passed out of committee unanimously. It will now go to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.
Next week the Senate will take up the issue.
It was wonderful to have so many supporters attend the hearing. Please try to make it to the next hearing–and let your Representative and Senator know how you feel about this issue!
You can see media coverage by clicking on the following links:
For WCCO TV: