The Potluck

Republican AG candidate worked with group that spreads debunked abortion claims

By: - July 11, 2022 9:15 am

Minnesota attorney general candidate Jim Schultz worked with a group that spreads debunked claims about abortion. Deena Winter/Minnesota Reformer

The GOP-endorsed candidate for Minnesota attorney general has served on the board of an anti-abortion group that spreads debunked claims that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, drug abuse, suicide and other mental health problems.

The group has also suggested similarities between pro-abortion rights and pro-slavery beliefs, and that there’s no medically sound reason an abortion could save the life of a mother.

Republican candidate Jim Schultz said during a March candidate forum he served on the board of directors for the Human Life Alliance, a nonprofit that produces anti-abortion information and distributes it across the nation and beyond.

While Schultz recently told MPR he would defend Minnesota’s abortion laws if elected, he said during the candidate forum he would do everything he could to ensure that unborn are “defended aggressively.”

“We need to not just be on defense on this issue. The fact is, Democrats are the extremists on the issue,” he said. “I’ll be the one going on offense on the issue. So many times, Democrats attack us, the media attacks us, and then the Republicans go into this defensive crouch. Well, that’s not going to be me. Offense, offense, offense.”

A Human Life Alliance publication called “She’s a Child, Not a Choice” says abortion doesn’t heal a woman who was raped, but just “adds another emotionally traumatic experience.” 

The publication says bodily autonomy arguments are similar to the worldview that led to the acceptance of slavery and genocide because they both “began with stripping away personhood from some humans for convenience. Isn’t it discriminatory to say some human beings are not people?”

The publication erroneously claims late-term abortions are “never” needed to save a woman’s life. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, life-threatening conditions can develop later in pregnancy, including early severe preeclampsia, newly diagnosed cancer and intrauterine infection, often in conjunction with the premature rupture of the amniotic sac.

The anti-abortion publication also claims women keeping abortions secret can lead to depression, drug and alcohol abuse and increased risk of breast cancer, infertility, miscarriages, eating disorders, suicide and death.

The American Cancer Society says scientific research has not found abortions cause breast cancer, and the American Psychological Association says abortion is not linked to mental health issues, although restricting access to abortion is.

Joe Langfeld, executive director of the Human Life Alliance, disputed that his group spreads debunked myths. For example, he pointed to a study in China that refutes to idea that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer. He also said the “She’s a Child, Not a ‘Choice’” publication is an anniversary edition and not updated every year.

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, Schultz called on Americans to respect the decision. He said although the ruling would have limited impact in Minnesota, where the right to an abortion is protected by a 1995 legal precedent called Doe v. Gomez, he expected his opponent Attorney General Keith Ellison to “use the decision to distract Minnesotans from the disastrous policies they have enacted.”

Ellison has vowed to defend pregnant women — who travel to Minnesota to get abortions — from prosecutions in their home states.

Schultz did not respond to a request for comment. 

This story was updated July 13 to include a comment from the Human Life Alliance.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs.