Matt Birk, the running mate of Republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. Scott Jensen, says he and his family have been threatened and harassed following Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan’s “lies” about his stance on abortion.
In a video posted to Twitter on Friday afternoon, Birk asserted that as a direct consequence of his opponent’s mischaracterizations, his wife has received “threatening anonymous phone calls” and his children have been cyberbullied.
“Now I have police officers outside my house,” he added. “It’s gotten personal.”
In a July Twitter thread, Flanagan implied Jensen and Birk support an outright abortion ban in Minnesota. She also accused Birk of not “respecting” rape victims and believing women shouldn’t have careers.
“An abortion ban would deny survivors the choice to end their pregnancy and force them to live the lives their rapists chose for them rather than ones they want for themselves,” she said.
“We can’t afford to elect anti-choice leaders who don’t trust or respect survivors and who think that we should discourage women from having careers. A woman’s choice to have a career — much like her decision on when and whether to have a child — is none of my opponent’s business,” she added.
This was based on comments Birk made during a speech on the day Roe v. Wade was overturned. He said our culture promotes abortion by telling women to value their careers more than motherhood and criticized proponents of abortion for always playing “the rape card.”
Of the 10,136 abortions in Minnesota last year, 44 were performed because the pregnancy was a result of rape. The majority were performed because the mother did “not want children at this time.”
— Matt Birk (@BirkMatt) July 29, 2022
Jensen and Birk released a 10-point plan last week sharing how they would support Minnesota women and children if elected. Some of the provisions include the creation of a paid family and maternity leave program, increased access to natural family planning resources, additional funding for pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, and informed consent procedures on abortion.
The plan did not call for any sort of abortion ban. In a statement, Jensen reiterated his acknowledgment that abortion “rights” are recognized in the Minnesota Constitution and that the governor does not possess the legal authority to change that, only the Legislature.
He also said he supports abortion in cases of rape and incest.
In his video remarks, lieutenant governor candidate Birk also challenged Flanagan to debate him at Farmfest on Wednesday, Aug. 3, where Gov. Tim Walz and Jensen will be holding their only scheduled debate of the campaign season thus far.
“It’s time, Peggy, that you and I sat down and talked in front of real Minnesotans about the real issues,” the former NFL lineman said. “No more hiding behind the press. No more hiding behind your press conferences and your videos. It’s time we talked.”