Dr. Scott Jensen, former GOP candidate for governor, wrote in an op-ed that following his 2022 election loss, he is re-examining his position on abortion.
“Because millions of Americans believed that the Supreme Court’s ruling had had a decisive impact on elections across the nation, I decided to re-examine the abortion issue from both a historical and present-day perspective,” Jensen wrote.
He said he has come to the conclusion that being pro-life and advocating for bodily autonomy are at odds with one another.
“I am pro-life, but I won’t tell you what determines the beginning of life — because I don’t know. My thoughts on abortion are increasingly influenced by my passionate embrace of the importance of bodily autonomy for all, meaning, ‘I get to choose what my body endures,'” he wrote.
“Consider someone who chooses to decline a vaccine. How can that same someone then insist that a pregnant woman be denied the right to choose what her body experiences?” he said.
He went on to say that while some may argue the abortion decision involves two lives, the U.S. Constitution “doesn’t establish a basis for defining the beginning of life or personhood.”
“I am done with rigid proclamations insisting on banning abortions,” Jensen wrote. He also advocated for making Plan B pills “more easily available.”
Jensen then went on “The Break Down with Brodkorb and Becky” following the release of his op-ed, where he stated that “we should have the morning after pill in every medicine cabinet next to the Tylenol bottle.”
He reiterated that he no longer knows when life begins. “When I was younger, I used to think that, of course, life began at conception,” Jensen said. “I don’t think that any more. I don’t know.”
Jensen was asked to explain what he means when he says he is “personally pro-life.”
“When I say I’m personally pro-life, I’m talking about my personal life, so my married life with my wife, Mary, in terms of what kind of decision-making we have made,” he said. “I think that what we can do now is we can — and that’s where I’m at — we can be both pro-life and pro-choice. We can be both pro-life from a personal perspective and we can be pro-choice from a policy perspective.”
“If we can get there, then I think we can go the next step and recognize everyone wants bodily autonomy,” he continued.
At the same time, Jensen listed a number of policies that he believes would make abortion a “less necessary consideration,” saying he supports former President Bill Clinton’s famous “safe, legal, and rare” position.
In the interview and in the op-ed, Jensen appeared to be open to the idea that third-trimester abortions should be illegal expect in cases of rape, incest, and when the health of the mother is at risk.
Jensen also called for reforming the Minnesota GOP’s endorsement process and abandoning the expectation that candidates who don’t win the endorsement will drop out before the primary.
“I think that for me, a big part of where this comes from is I think we have an activist group that plays at the five-yard line on two issues in the Republican Party. And it’s guns and abortion,” he said.
Jensen, a family practice physician, expressed support for a “ban” on abortion early in his campaign but later released a video saying he was “not running to do that.” The former state senator lost to Democratic Gov. Tim Walz by seven percentage points in the general election.
He is now suing Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, saying that his political opponents “weaponized” the state medical board against him.