Here’s where Minn. congressional candidates stand on national abortion ban

By: - September 22, 2022 8:00 am

The exterior of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen on May 28, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images.

For decades, Republicans promised voters they’d ban abortions if only the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Sure enough, abortion was swiftly banned in Republican-controlled states around the country in the wake of the court’s June decision striking down Roe.

But a public backlash — evident in polls, a Kansas ballot question and several special elections around the country — has Republicans often looking to change the subject before the fall election. 

Not Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., though, who recently introduced a bill to ban abortion nationally after 15 weeks. States would also be allowed to enact stricter bans.

Minnesota remains a safe haven for abortion rights in the upper Midwest under the state Supreme Court case Doe v. Gomez, but that could change with a federal ban. 

Here’s where the 16 candidates for U.S. House stand on Graham’s abortion proposal: 

District 1

Rep. Brad Finstad, R

Finstad did not respond to the Reformer’s request for comment on Graham’s bill, but he has previously stated he is anti-abortion and believes the states should decide abortion rights. 

Jeff Ettinger, DFL

Ettinger went to Twitter after the news of Graham’s bill broke, calling the bill “an egregious threat to women’s rights.” Ettinger has stated he wants to codify Roe into national law.  

Ettinger lost the First District special election to Finstad in August by 4 percentage points and will face Finstad again in November. 

District 2

Rep. Angie Craig, DFL

Craig also took to Twitter to criticize Graham’s bill on Sept. 14

“We need to codify Roe & ensure women — not government — are in charge of their own healthcare decisions,” Craig said. 

Tyler Kistner, R

Craig’s Republican competitor Kistner did not respond to the Reformer’s request for comment on Graham’s bill. 

In 2020, Kistner’s stance on abortion was “100% pro-life,” something he is now trying to distance himself from. A Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life survey from this summer showed Kistner said he would uphold anti-abortion laws. In a Star Tribune article published Wednesday, Kistner called abortion “an extremely complex issue,” but did not expand. 

District 3

Rep. Dean Phillips, DFL

Phillips opposes Graham’s bill. In response, Phillips introduced the PRO-LIFE Act, which is a set of bills to invest in maternal and children’s health, paid leave and adoption support. 

“Rep. Phillips has been a vocal advocate for women’s reproductive freedom,” Phillips’ spokesperson Sam Anderson said. 

Tom Weiler, R 

Weiler did not respond to the Reformer’s request for comment on Graham’s bill. 

After Roe was overturned, Weiler issued a statement saying, “We have a duty to care for the most vulnerable among us from the very beginning of life until the end.” He has stated he would support laws that allow for abortion in the cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s health is at risk. 

District 4

Rep. Betty McCollum, DFL

McCollum responded to Graham’s bill via Twitter on Sept. 13

“Now that places like Kansas are deciding to protect reproductive rights, extreme Republicans are proposing a national abortion ban to control women,” McCollum said. “We must keep fighting to #DefendWomensRights & reproductive rights.” 

May Lor Xiong, R

Xiong said the states should make abortion access decisions. 

“Keeping this debate closest to the people is where this issue should remain,” Xiong said. 

District 5

Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL

Omar also responded to Graham’s bill via Twitter on Sept. 13 saying, “Roe was just the tip of the iceberg. Republicans have now made it plain as day that they do not just want to keep state abortion bans in place, but that they will ban abortions nationwide if they seize power.” 

Cicely Davis, R

Davis did not respond to the Reformer’s request for comment on Graham’s bill, but she told the Star Tribune that abortion access is protected in Minnesota and she respects life from conception to death.

District 6

Rep. Tom Emmer, R

Emmer did not respond to the Reformer’s request for comment on Graham’s bill. 

“Every life is precious, and the decision to defend it should remain with the states,” Emmer said after Roe was overturned. But Emmer also co-sponsored the Heartbeat Protection Act, which was introduced in Congress in February 2021. The bill would prohibit an abortion if a doctor detects cardiac activity from the fetus, which can happen as soon as six weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant. 

Jeanne Hendricks, DFL

Hendricks did not respond to the Reformer’s request for comment on Graham’s bill specifically but has stated she wants to codify Roe. 

District 7

Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R 

Fischbach declined to comment on Graham’s bill, Fischbach’s spokesperson said. 

In her statement after Roe was overturned, Fischbach said, “Today’s Supreme Court decision was a step to protect the most precious and basic right: the right to life…the American people will be able to decide the issue of abortion through their elected officials. This is what democracy looks like.” 

Jill Abahsain, DFL

Abahsain did not respond to the Reformer’s request for comment on Graham’s bill. Abahsain told the Star Tribune that abortion is a medical procedure and should not be up for public debate. 

District 8

Rep. Pete Stauber, R

Stauber did not respond to the Reformer’s request for comment on Graham’s bill.

After Roe was overturned, Stauber said, “This ruling is a win for the sanctity of life. Additionally, this decision also returns decision-making power back to elected officials in states as intended”   

Jennifer Schultz, DFL

Schultz opposes Graham’s bill and reaffirmed her support for reproductive rights. 

“A proposed national abortion ban on a right that we have had for the last 50 years is another attack by the Republicans to take away our freedom,” Schultz said. “Politicians should not be dictating our health care decisions.” 

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Maia Irvin
Maia Irvin

Maia is an intern at Minnesota Reformer. She is a fourth-year student at the University of Minnesota and the editor-in-chief of the Minnesota Daily. She is originally from Austin, Minn.