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Minnesota Legal Experts Fact Check Scott Jensen on Abortion

Minnesota lawyers exposed the falseness of Jensen's recent claims and outlined possible avenues for an abortion ban in Minnesota if Jensen becomes governor


September 23, 2022

MINNESOTA - Today, Minnesota legal experts fact-checked Minnesota Republican governor candidate Scott Jensen for his recent false claim that if governor, he would have no power to take away the constitutional right to abortion in Minnesota. The experts also outlined the different avenues Scott Jensen would take to ban or heavily restrict abortion access in Minnesota.

In a recent TV ad, Scott Jensen falsely claimed that if he is elected governor, he would have no power to take away the constitutional right to abortion in Minnesota.

"Scott Jensen has claimed that as governor, he would have no ability to affect abortion rights in Minnesota, but he very much does," said Laura Hermer, Professor of Law. "The governor is the chief executive of the state and has the primary duty of setting the public policy of the state, including the policy towards reproductive rights and specifically abortion access. Scott Jensen has made it very clear, on multiple fronts, the kinds of policies he hopes to pursue regarding the right to abortion."

In an MPR interview in March 2022, Scott Jensen said he would try to ban abortion in Minnesota. And in an interview with WCCO Radio in May 2022, Jensen confirmed that he would ban abortion without exceptions for rape or incest.

Scott Jensen has a long anti-choice record in the Minnesota Senate and supported legislation in 2017 with restrictive licensing guidelines for abortion facilities. And he voted to restrict access to abortions by defunding organizations that perform abortions and receive taxpayer funding.

Jensen also received a 100% rating from an extreme anti-choice organization, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

Professor of Law Mike Steenson highlighted the judicial avenues Scott Jensen could pursue to overturn Doe v. Gomez, the Minnesota Supreme Court decision that made abortion a constitutional right in Minnesota.

"The governor quite directly has an influence on the status of abortion rights in Minnesota," said Mike Steenson, Professor of Law. "Scott Jensen would have the opportunity to appoint justices to the Supreme Court of Minnesota. So the question is, could Doe v. Gomez be overturned? And the answer is absolutely."

He pointed out that even within the last three years, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the decision that made abortion a constitutional right.

The experts also outlined various avenues Scott Jensen would pursue to heavily restrict abortion access in Minnesota, including:

Scott Jensen could appoint anti-choice justices to the Minnesota Supreme Court if a vacancy arises.

Scott Jensen could sign off on bills restricting or attempting to ban abortion passed by the Minnesota Legislature.

If Republicans control the Minnesota House and Senate, they could pursue an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, which Scott Jensen could sign.

Scott Jensen could block all manner of legislation protective of abortion and reproductive rights that moves through the Minnesota House and Senate.

Scott Jensen could draft one or more executive orders directing state agencies and others under his supervision to reallocate funding away from abortion and reproductive health care services.

Scott Jensen could appoint a Commissioner of Human Services, Commissioner of Health, and others who are hostile to abortion rights. A Commissioner of Human Services could direct that Medical Assistance stop paying for abortions, with the intent of challenging Doe v. Gomez. Such commissioners could seek to restrict or complicate access to abortion care.

Scott Jensen could rescind the executive order that Governor Walz instituted that offers legal protection to people from out of state who come to Minnesota for reproductive health services and instead set up burdensome roadblocks to make it harder for women to access safe, legal abortions.

Scott Jensen's extreme stance on abortion is at odds with the sixty percent of Minnesota voters who say abortion should be legal in all or most cases and sixty-five percent who oppose new severe restrictions on abortion.


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