Jun 27, 2022 - Politics

How the Supreme Court's Roe ruling will shape Minnesota's governor election

scott jensen and tim walz
Scott Jensen and Gov. Tim Walz. Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Legislature/Minnesota Governor's Office

The Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade could catapult the abortion rights debate back to the forefront of the midterm campaigns, including Minnesota's race for governor.

The big picture: Democrats in Minnesota and across the nation see the loss of federal abortion protections as a potential game-changer that could turn out their voters in a November midterm that polling and the political environment otherwise suggest will lead to GOP gains, Axios' Lachlan Markay reports.

Yes, but: The issue could fire up Republicans, too. And some strategists say other concerns, such as crime and rising prices, will be bigger vote drivers.

Here's where the two leading candidates for governor stand on the issue:

DFL Gov. Tim Walz supports abortion rights and has pledged to block legislation that would reduce access. Over the weekend, he signed an executive order aimed a making the state a safe haven for out-of-state patients.

  • “Reproductive rights are on the ballot in November, and the stakes could not be higher," Walz said in a statement Friday. "The governor’s office is now the last line of defense against an abortion ban in Minnesota."

Presumed GOP nominee Scott Jensen, a physician, has said he would seek to ban abortion. He said in a WCCO Radio interview that does not support exceptions for rape or incest, unless the mother's life is in danger.

  • On Friday, he said he intends "to seek out loving and caring alternatives like universal adoption, family planning measures to prevent pregnancies and policies like counseling and alternative referrals, medical assistance and other measures that value people — both born and unborn."

Reality check: State lawmakers, including the governor, have limited power to ban or significantly curtail abortion in Minnesota due to a 1995 Supreme Court ruling.

  • But they could sign laws seeking to expand or further restrict access. The Legislature, meanwhile, could put a constitutional amendment asking voters to decide issue's fate on the ballot.

What to watch: Abortion could also become a galvanizing issue in other contested races, including contests for attorney general, the 2nd Congressional District and state legislative seats that will determine control of the state Capitol.

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