Commentary: Walz and Flanagan are the real extremists on abortion

The real question is not why Matt Birk believes that abortion is bad for women, but why Tim Walz believes it’s so good for them.

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan speak at a pro-abortion rally July 17 at the Minnesota Capitol. (Office of Gov. Tim Walz/Flickr)

(Minnesota Family Council) — As the 2022 gubernatorial campaign heats up, Gov. Tim Walz and his campaign have stepped up the attacks on pro-life candidate for lieutenant governor, Matt Birk. The fact is, however, that Gov. Walz and his running mate Peggy Flanagan are the real radicals on this issue.

While Tim Walz has bragged about being so pro-abortion that Nancy Pelosi told him to tone it down, most Minnesotans support commonsense limitations on abortion, such as a ban on taxpayer funding for abortion, and a ban on abortions after the first trimester. While there is difference of views in good faith among the pro-life majority of Minnesotans as to how exactly to bring about the pro-life future, it is Walz and Flanagan — with their support for taxpayer-funded abortion up until the moment of birth — who are far removed from the views of actual Minnesotans.

So when the Walz campaign releases clips of Matt Birk talking about his pro-life views, and the establishment media puts it in the headlines, that in no way indicates that Matt Birk is wrong and Tim Walz is right. Let’s look at the facts.

Matt Birk is under fire for giving a short history lesson to a pro-life audience, tying abortion to the rise of 2nd-wave feminism. This is simply true. As the New York Times wrote in May, “The feminist movement in the 1970s helped create the social conditions that brought about Roe v. Wade.”

Matt Birk, then, is being attacked for saying something that everyone knows is true — it seems a strange basis for a political attack ad, but perhaps the Walz campaign is desperate.

It was pro-abortion feminists, not Matt Birk, who created the myth that abortion was an act of liberation; who created an oppositional relationship in many women’s minds between their families and their careers. Matt Birk and many other pro-lifers are pushing back against this false narrative. The fact is that women don’t need abortion to succeed — either in their careers or in their personal lives. Matt Birk recognizes that, while Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan cling to the idea that abortion is not only necessary but praiseworthy. “Shout your abortion” could be a Walz-Flanagan campaign slogan.

Matt Birk’s comments show that he is looking forward to a pro-life future, in which abortion is truly unthinkable because women feel so supported during pregnancy that they can always choose LIFE. But Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan are looking backward, to a time before we came to know several things that make abortion even more of an atrocity in modern society.

  1. We now know that a unique human life begins at the moment of conception.
  2. We know that women in crisis pregnancies can receive support from pregnancy centers devoted to this precise purpose (you know, the ones Elizabeth Warren wants to ban) that will give them what they need to keep and raise their baby, or connect them with adoption resources.
  3. We know that women do NOT need and never have needed abortion to meet their personal and career goals.

Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan can’t accept these facts. Rather, they want to see Minnesota become an abortion destination. The governor recently signed an executive order encouraging abortion access for out-of-state women. There are already plans in motion for abortion clinics in Sioux Falls and Fargo to move across the border into Minnesota. And in the Twin Cities, Planned Parenthood and Whole Women’s Heath are increasing their capacity, planning for a 25% increase in the number of abortions in Minnesota, with the full cooperation of Gov. Walz’s administration.

The real question is not why Matt Birk believes that abortion is bad for women, but why Tim Walz believes it’s so good for them — and why he wants more of these tragic acts happening in our state.

Another question that has been raised about Matt Birk is his opposition to abortion in the case of rape. He has been quoted as saying that abortion after rape is two wrongs that cannot make a right.

An advocate for victims of sexual assault, quoted in the Star Tribune, by contrast, says that abortion is often necessary for victims of sexual assault, that the trauma of a crisis pregnancy worsens the trauma caused by the initial assault.

This is fundamentally wrong. Abortion comes with its own trauma — certainly the physical trauma by which a baby’s life is brutally ended, but also physical and lasting emotional trauma for women. Abortion is simply not an avenue by which to escape the trauma of a tragic sexual assault — it merely adds additional trauma that many women experience for the rest of their lives.

Matt Birk is radical enough to believe that each human being is valuable to the society we live in, that it is a good thing when a baby is born regardless of his parentage, that it is a good thing when courageous women who have overcome traumatic experiences take control of their circumstances and choose LIFE.

That’s the type of radicalism we need more of. The compassionate radicalism that puts both women AND children first, instead of creating an oppositional relationship between a woman and the child growing inside her. That’s what Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan are missing. For the millions of Minnesotans across our state who support commonsense restrictions on abortion, it’s Matt Birk’s respect for life, rather than Tim Walz’s “shout your abortion” advocacy, that will resonate the most.


Moses Bratrud

Moses Bratrud is the communications director of the Minnesota Family Council.