Scott Jensen, the GOP nominee for Minnesota governor in 2022, has implored the party to soften its stance on abortion.
Jensen, a moderate in the Minnesota state Senate who took hardline anti-abortion stances in last year’s contest, appeared to blame his defeat to incumbent Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, in part, on the the hot button issue, according to an op-ed published Monday.
“When guaranteed access to abortion disappeared and the new reality became that each state would determine its own abortion policy, the nature of the 2022 elections was dramatically altered,” Jensen wrote in The Star Tribune, referencing the US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade that June.
“A few months later I lost my race by a significant margin,” he wrote.
“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.”
During the 2022 cycle, Jensen, a physician, favored banning the procedure. But his position appeared to dither at times, particularly on what exceptions would be enacted.
Walz hammered him on the controversial issue.
Now, Jensen indicates he won’t back a total ban on abortion, and called for nuance from other members of the party.
“We can be pro-life from a personal perspective, and we can be pro-choice from a policy perspective,” he said on local politics podcast “The Break Down with Brodkorb and Becky.”
Jensen also knocked the GOP for being too dogmatic on the issue.
“We have an activist group that plays the five-yard line on two issues in this party and it’s guns and abortion,” Jensen said on the podcast.
Republicans have effectively had a 16-year statewide losing streak in the North Star State. Democrats hold narrow control over both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s office.
Nationally, Republicans have grappled with fallout from the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that had legalized abortion throughout the US.
The GOP had been widely expected to surf the red wave to a smashing victory in the midterm elections, but ultimately barely captured the House and lost a seat in the Senate.
Urging the party to soften its approach, Jensen also underscored the moral underpinnings of legislating abortion policy.
“Remarkable biotechnological advancements emerged that complicated the ethics surrounding abortion,” he wrote in his op-ed.
“I am pro-life, but I won’t tell you what determines the beginning of life — because I don’t know,” he added. “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.’”
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