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Matt Birk compares abortion to slavery, pledges to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest

St, Paul, MNThis week, a video surfaced of Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen’s running mate, Matt Birk, making wildly offensive comments about women and abortion and promising to pass laws that ban abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest at a National Right to Life conference in June 2022, the day that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Minnesotans immediately began raising the alarm and calling for Birk and Jensen to acknowledge the harm caused by the speech and their proposed abortion bans. Birk is digging in and Jensen remains silent.

“Scott Jensen’s running mate is spewing hateful and hurtful rhetoric that endangers people’s lives,” said Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Yet, we have not heard from Scott Jensen if he supports his running mate’s comments. Scott Jensen and Matt Birk have been crystal clear that they want to ban abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, and now Birk is being incredibly disrespectful to women and abortion patients while dismissing our right to bodily autonomy. If he is this callous about the women in his own family, imagine how he will treat women in our state. Minnesotans need to know if Scott Jensen agrees."

In the video of Matt Birk speaking at the National Right to Life conference, he celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. He compared safe, legal abortion to slavery and said, “women used to not be able to vote, now we let them drive.” He also reiterated that he doesn’t believe that rape victims should be able to get abortions and said that “if a woman is unexpectedly pregnant, she could be the answer to someone’s prayer.” He also repeated his and Scott Jensen’s intentions to ban abortion in Minnesota with no exceptions for rape or incest, saying, “we’re going to change some laws….”

“Even if we oppose abortion personally, politicians should not be able to deny a person's reproductive health care,” said Stoesz. “We should ensure that every Minnesotan can get the health care they need, including abortion care, without politicians controlling when, where, or why. We need politicians who will fight for our rights, not decimate them.”

In an MPR interview in March 2022, Scott Jensen said that he would ban abortion in Minnesota without exceptions for rape or incest. 

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Founded in 2003, the Planned Parenthood of Minnesota Political Action Fund (PPMPAF) is focused on electing reproductive and sexual health champions. The political work of  PPMPAF helps Planned Parenthood North Central States care for its patients and educate the community by ensuring our elected in state and national legislatures will protect and strengthen access to patient-focused health care, increase access to inclusive, medically-accurate sexuality education, and support laws Minnesotans need to thrive.

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