Court rulings shed light on abortion issue in gubernatorial race

By on July 13, 2022 0

Minnesota’s abortion legal landscape has become more liberal as restrictions in much of the country become more conservative.

On Monday, a Minnesota state court judge struck down abortion restrictions, including a 24-hour waiting period, two-parent notification for minors and requirements for who can perform the procedure, when. and or. Recourse is possible but not guaranteed.

It’s a landmark decision that came just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the precedent Roe v. Wade, nearly 50 years old, who legalized abortion nationwide. In many states, abortion access protections have disappeared due to strict laws triggered by the inversion.

Almost overnight, Governor Tim Walz made advocacy for reproductive rights a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.

“The stakes are clear. They couldn’t be higher,” the DFL Governor said. “[The] the governor’s office is now the last line of defense against an abortion ban in Minnesota.”

Walz was not made available for an interview. He also did not comment on the state court’s decision and whether he should be appealed. A spokesperson said the governor “appreciated the judge’s thoughtful approach and is reconsidering the decision.”

Meanwhile, Walz and her campaign sent out dozens of tweets, fundraising pitches and other messages sounding the alarm about abortion access in the weeks following the most recent decision. high court of the country.

DFL Governor Tim Walz speaks during a news conference at the Minnesota State Capitol June 25, a day after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Estelle Timar Wilcox | MPR News

What often goes unmentioned is that abortion has constitutional protection in Minnesota under a 1995 state court ruling. Overturning that would result in a different outcome in a new case or a ballot measure approved by voters – two important orders.

Still, the federal decision placed Republican endorsed nominee Scott Jensen in a politically sensitive position. The doctor and former state legislator has made it clear that he personally opposes legalized abortion. But he gradually moderated his comments about what he would do as governor.

“I would try to outlaw abortion,” Jensen told MPR News in March when asked about a possible Supreme Court decision to match the end result. “I think we’re basically in a situation where we should be ruled by pro-lifers. There is no reason for us to perform abortions. We have tremendous opportunities and availability of birth control. We don’t need to snuff out lives that, if left alone, will produce a viable newborn who could become the next Albert Einstein.

Since last month’s federal ruling — and after Jensen all but locked in the Republican nomination — his rhetoric has changed.

Now he’s raising exceptions to a total ban. He says the mother’s health comes first. This month on WCCO Radio, Jensen said the calculation would include whether there is a medical or mental health emergency or whether the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape.

“And at that point, it’s a medical matter that’s protected by privacy,” Jensen said.

A man smiles and shakes someone's hand

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. Scott Jensen greets supporters at Kaposia Park in South St. Paul on July 11, 2022.

Matt Sepic | MPR News

After the state judge rejected some restrictions this week, Jensen criticized the decision but said he would leave it to the Legislature to take next steps. He told MPR News he would not push for or support a constitutional amendment banning abortion.

“Well, an abortion is a life-saving medical procedure in certain specific and given situations,” Jensen said. “I think we have to remember that. I mean, again, it has to be about the woman who is pregnant. His life is above all, primordial.

Walz expects the issue of abortion to motivate voters in a midterm election when turnout tends to drop and his party faces political headwinds.

Jensen argues that other things matter more to voters — from gas and grocery prices to trends in crime and education.

Jensen accuses Walz of “frightening” the future of abortion in Minnesota.

Walz rejects this idea.

“If you don’t think these anti-choice, anti-healthcare bills are real, Governor Dayton was forced to veto eight of them at a time when Roe was standing,” said Walz said. “So if you don’t think it’s coming, it absolutely is.”

MPR News reporter Matt Sepic contributed to this story.