McFeely: Walz, DFL should make abortion central issue of election

It's clear anti-abortion activists won't stop with their Roe victory. And after what happened in Kansas on Tuesday, Minnesota Democrats should be even more emboldened to talk with voters about the importance of women having access to legal, safe abortions.

The Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo is the only clinic in North Dakota that can perform abortions legally. That will soon end with the state's "trigger law" going into effect.
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MOORHEAD — The Minnesota Republican gubernatorial ticket of Scott Jensen and Matt Birk is a billboard for middle-aged men telling women what to do with their bodies. They are right-wing extremists, particularly when it comes to abortion rights. And they are unafraid to say so.

We learned this week that anti-abortion rights activists will do whatever they can to make the Red River Women's Clinic's move from Fargo to Moorhead — North Dakota to Minnesota — "problematic for them." North Dakota will soon ban abortion, so the clinic plans to move across the Red River where the right is constitutionally protected.

"We are not OK with Red River Women’s abortion Clinic assuming they can simply jump over the river and set up operations in a community that never invited them," Minnesota Republican state representative Tim Miller told a local TV station.

Minnesota Republicans, in other words, are more than willing to make abortion a central theme of this fall's election.

If Republicans are willing to say a 10-year-old girl can't have an abortion to prevent her from having her rapist's baby — a case they are making based on an Indiana case — DFLers should welcome the fight.


And after what happened in Kansas on Tuesday, they should be even more emboldened to talk with voters about the importance of women having access to legal, safe abortions.

It's a winning issue for Democrats.

For that we can thank the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the law of the land for 50 years guaranteeing abortion access before being brazenly discarded by a right-wing majority court.

With the death of Roe, Republicans got what they've promised for a half-century. Like the dog chasing the car, they also got stuck with a question.

Now what?

Answer: Unsatisfied with killing Roe, they're going state-by-state to ban abortion. They've doubled-down on their radicalism.

Despite the nation's support of abortion rights climbing after the Supreme Court decision — a recent Gallup poll said 55% of Americans identify as pro-choice and a CNN poll said 63% of Americans disapproved of the court's ruling — that is the GOP's path.

They were sent a message in Kansas. Voters in that extremely conservative state rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have said there was no right to an abortion in the state by 59% to 41%. This is the same state the chose Donald Trump over Joe Biden by 56% to 42% in 2020.


Voter turnout was through the roof.

Having the right to reproductive health care ripped away motivated voters in a deeply red state to thoroughly thump the amendment.

Minnesota DFLers should learn from this. Make this November's election about abortion rights, about how Jensen and Birk will do everything in their power to take away those rights. Because they will.

In every legislative race, in every statewide race, and particularly in the governor's race. Make it about protecting abortion rights.

Republicans have shown their hand. Voters in ultra-red Kansas responded.

It's obvious who won. Make Jensen and Birk pay with that information.

Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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