The Potluck

Gov. Tim Walz does not support abortion up to the moment of birth, contrary to Jensen claim

By: - June 28, 2022 1:55 pm

Photo by Dylan Miettinen/Minnesota Reformer.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which for 50 years had guaranteed Americans the right to an abortion, has catapulted the issue into the forefront of the Minnesota governor’s race.

Likely Republican nominee Scott Jensen, who supports banning abortion, falsely said Gov. Tim Walz holds the view that abortion should be permitted “up-to-the-moment-of-birth.”

“Late term, nine month abortions championed by Tim Walz are not Minnesota values,” Jensen wrote in a statement in response to the Supreme Court decision.

Walz says he supports “maintaining the timelines outlined by current law.” In Minnesota, elective abortion is legal up to viability — or around 24 weeks — after which the procedure must be done in a hospital, if for example, the health or life of the mother were in danger.

According to pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion groups, Walz rejected nearly all anti-abortion bills during his time in the U.S. House from 2007 to 2018. This included bills to ban all abortions after 20 weeks.

The vast majority of abortions — about 93% — happen within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the eight abortion providers in Minnesota, just one clinic in Minnesota provides abortions as late as 24 weeks into a pregnancy. In Minnesota in 2020, one person had an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

“Jensen is lying about this issue to distract from his unpopular plan to ban abortion outright, including for victims of rape and incest,” Walz’s campaign manager Nicole Johnson said in a statement.

Jensen said he would try to ban abortion if elected, and doesn’t think there should be exceptions for rape or incest. The only exception Jensen says he supports is if the life of the mother is threatened.

“My view of life is it begins at conception,” Jensen told WCCO Radio.

Jensen wouldn’t be able to ban abortion if elected governor, even if he could get a GOP-controlled Legislature to go along. A 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision ruled that a person’s right to an abortion is enshrined in the Minnesota Constitution, so voters would have to vote to change the constitution.

However, the Legislature has enacted “informed consent” restrictions on abortion, which require women to wait 24 hours. State law also requires doctors to tell women medically dubious claims about the risks associated with the procedure, and that the father is liable to help pay the cost of raising a child.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Previously, he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.