Flanagan targets Birk remarks on abortion and rape

A woman stands at a lectern.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan criticized her Republican rival Matt Birk for what she said were disturbing comments about abortion.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News

DFL Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan on Tuesday criticized her Republican rival for what she said were disturbing comments about abortion.

Flanagan, who is Gov. Tim Walz’s running mate and supports abortion rights, criticized Matt Birk for recent anti-abortion comments. 

Birk is the running mate of Republican-endorsed candidate for governor Scott Jensen. 

The Walz-Flanagan campaign released a video of Birk speaking at the National Right to Life Conference in Georgia on the day that Roe v. Wade was overturned. In the video, Birk said of abortion after a rape that “two wrongs won’t make a right.” 

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He also said our culture “promotes abortion” by telling women they should “have careers,” said that pro-choice advocates like to “go to the rape card.”

Flanagan, joined sexual assault survivors at a news conference, said the remarks were disrespectful to survivors of rape.

“Comparing a survivor who chooses to end a pregnancy from sexual assault to the rapist, the criminal who assaulted her, is wrong, and it is cruel,” Flanagan said. 

A man speaks at a podium as another man listens
Matt Birk, Republican-endorsed candidate for lieutenant governor, speaks during a campaign event in St. Paul with gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen.
Peter Cox | MPR News

Jensen and Birk put out a statement in response accusing Walz and Flanagan of conducting a single-issue campaign and ignoring other serious problems facing the state, including inflation, crime, high gas prices and reliable energy. 

“The Walz/Flanagan campaign continues to freeze and deflect on the important issues, but they're relentless in their pursuit to champion tax-payer funded abortion throughout a pregnancy,” the statement said.

Flanagan said she plans to keep talking about the abortion issue through the coming months of the campaign. 

“I may be a broken record on this for the next several months,” she said. “But it is what is required of me as a mother and as someone who is responsible for protecting the health and safety of Minnesotans.”