New Law Gives Minnesotans A Natural Choice for Care of Deceased

Saint Paul, Minnesota – Governor Pawlenty has signed into law changes that will give Minnesotans a more natural choice in how they care for their deceased loved ones. Under current law, a body must be embalmed if there is a public viewing, but State Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL – Columbia Heights), who authored the bill, said this practice is largely unneeded. The new law permits dry ice to be used for public viewing of a deceased body within private property, such as a home, church or funeral parlor. 

 “We all have a superstitious belief that bodies must be embalmed to ward off infections. It’s simply not true,” said Laine. “Death is a natural and inevitable process, and this law will provide people a more natural way to remember, honor and celebrate the lives of our loved ones.” 

Laine said embalming first came into use during the Civil War and was used to delay decomposition of bodies that had to travel a great distance before returning to a family. For families who hold funerals or remembrances shortly after a loved one passes away, embalming serves no logical purpose. “Since there is no scientific or biological reason to do embalming in most instances, it makes sense to provide people a ‘greener’ alternative,” said Laine. 

Laine worked with stakeholders including the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association to reach consensus on the bill. Hospitals and care providers both support the bill. Laine said she hopes the new law will spark dialogue about end of life issues. The new law will go into effect on August 1, 2010. 

Learn what the new law allows for home funerals at a free Public Forum sponsored by Minnesota Threshold Network with special guest State Rep. Carolyn Laine. 

 Topics include: 

               >   New Minnesota law 

               >   How to care for a body at home 

               >   Green burials   

               >   Q & A plus free resource list 

 WHEN:   June 29, 6:30 – 8 pm 

WHERE:  Washburn Public Library, 5244 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419 

 CONTACT:  mnthresholdnetwork@gmail.com or Becky at 612.823.1910

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