Walz, Jensen accuse each other of being ‘extreme’ on abortion

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When it comes to the abortion issue, Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz sees an opening to gain traction over his Republican opponent, Dr. Scott Jensen.

“The difference between my position and my opponent’s extremism could not be clearer,” Walz said Tuesday at a news conference organized by his campaign. “Scott Jensen has pledged to ban abortion without exception for rape and incest.”

That’s close, but not entirely accurate.

Jensen has not “pledged” to ban abortion. He’s even acknowledged there’s not much he can do to ban abortion if he’s elected because of a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that protects the right within the Minnesota Constitution. However, he has offered his opinion on several occasions that abortion should only be allowed if the mother’s life is in danger.

On WCCO Radio on May 5, Jensen was asked regarding abortion, “No exceptions for rape or incest?” Jensen replied, “Unless the mother’s life is in danger.”

He said much the same thing, although in a more nuanced way, in a Facebook video he posted before the Walz news conference.

“To me, rape and incest as considerations would fall within the realm of, ‘Is the mother’s life in danger?’” he says in the video. “And I think the mother’s life could be in danger quite readily without us seeing it, particularly in regards to suicidal ideation and how profound an impact might be occurring.”

Later in the video, Jensen says Walz is the one with the extreme position on abortion. “I think Gov. Walz is extreme if he thinks it’s OK to do an abortion in the 39th week,” he says.

At his news conference, the governor angrily denied he’s ever said that would be OK.

“I’ve done a thousand of these as a member of Congress and as governor,” he said about news conferences and interviews. “Not one time have I ever said that.”