Minnesota Republican Matt Birk also said people “always want to go to the rape card” to justify abortions.
In the days and weeks since the lopsidedly conservative Supreme Court nullified the federal right to reproductive health care, the state of Minnesota has quickly become a crucial nexus of abortion access for pregnant people across the Midwest thanks to its constitutionally enshrined guarantee of reproductive rights. Predictably, if depressingly, the fight to preserve this legally protected measure of bodily autonomy has become one of the — if not the — main issue in state’s upcoming gubernatorial race, where the GOP-endorsed candidate Scott Jensen and his running mate, former NFL star Matt Birk, have made their desire to control what pregnant people do with their bodies one of the centerpieces of their campaign.
While Jensen, a licensed physician who has been investigated by the state’s medical board five separate times for various allegations of medical quackery, has awkwardly worked to publicly downplay his initial promise to ban abortions in the state, Birk, his lieutenant governor candidate, has thrown that ostensible tack toward the center into messy, misogynistic disarray.
In just-discovered footage of a recent speech Birk gave to the hard-right National Right to Life anti-choice group, the former Minnesota Viking and Harvard graduate compared abortion to slavery, which also “used to be legal,” and objected to terminating a pregnancy from rape.
“One of the arguments I probably saw 20 times online today was about rape,” Birk claimed. “And obviously they always want to go to the rape card.” Now, it’s at this point that I feel compelled to make very clear that if the words “always want to go to the rape card” come out of your mouth, you’ve already messed up pretty bad — but not bad enough, in Birk’s case, as things got just a little worse when he added that “two wrongs won’t make a right.” Charming stuff, really. Oh, and did I mention the speech in question took place literally hours after the Supreme Court’s anti-choice ruling? Yeah. This is what passes for a victory lap in Birk’s world, I suppose.
And speaking of Birk’s world — it seems the real problem here is simply that We Live In A Society, maaaaan. “Our culture loudly but also stealthily promotes abortion,” Birk paradoxically explained. “They’re telling women they should look a certain way. They should have careers, all these things.”
In a sense, this is some refreshing clarity from a candidate whose most recent campaign move was to complain about bike lanes on one of the wealthiest, fanciest streets in the state. At least here he’s being upfront about what sort of society he wants, and from what century — clearly one in which women don’t make up more than 51% of the state workforce, as the Minnesota Reformer pointed out on Tuesday.
In a response to the newly uncovered video, current Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan blasted Birk for his “father knows best” overreach into the lives — and wombs — of voters.
The Jensen/Birk campaign has meanwhile tried to downplay the “women be workin’” scandal by claiming Democrats are focusing on a single issue to distract from their own failures. But really, it’s worth asking at this point if they’re simply mad that the current lieutenant governor is a woman with a career.