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AG Keith Ellison campaigns on abortion rights in Rochester stop

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is vying for a second term, said his GOP opponent Jim Schultz would use the office to restrict abortion access.

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Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, center, speaks at a campaign event in Rochester on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. DFL state Senate candidate Aleta Borrud, left, and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, right, joined him at Central Park in downtown to talk about access to abortion in Minnesota as Ellison vies for a second term.
John Molseed / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said his Republican challenger Jim Schultz would use the office to limit women’s access to abortion.

Ellison made a campaign stop in Rochester Monday, Oct. 17, as part of his bid for a second term. He stood in Central Park downtown, flanked by U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and DFL state senate candidate Aleta Borrud.

Schultz has said abortion rights aren’t on the ballot in the election. Ellison said that doesn’t matter as Schultz would use the powers of the Attorney General’s Office to help prosecute women coming from out of state for procedures banned in the states where they live. With neighboring states banning abortion, Ellison said more women are already coming to Minnesota .

“We will fight extradition if they come from another state, and we’ll go to court to fight for people's right to travel and to do what is legal to do in the state of Minnesota,” Ellison said. “(Schultz) will use the office to interfere and undermine people’s right to make their own choices about reproductive help.”

In a debate last week, Schultz noted abortion rights have been codified in Minnesota since a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling. However, Ellison said it was familiar rhetoric used by U.S. Supreme Court nominees before they voted to overturn women’s constitutional right to abortion this summer with their decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case.

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“We are in the throes of an important struggle in this country,” McLemore said to students, faculty, and community members Tuesday. “...This battle is around the right to vote.”

“As soon as they got the chance, they flipped Roe,” Ellison said, referring to the court’s decision overturning the precedent set by the 1972 Roe v. Wade case.

Ellison also noted Schultz served as a board member of an anti-abortion disinformation group and nonprofit Human Life Alliance, which was first reported by the Minnesota Reformer in July.

Ellison said voters need to look at candidates’ past actions and statements.

“Look at what they’ve done,” Ellison said. “What has he done? Sat on a board of a fake abortion clinic which has disseminated information that abortion causes cancer, which is not true.”

Smith said Republicans are trying to soften their image to appeal to a larger base of voters.

“These candidates that are anti-choice know that the public is not with them,” Smith said. “So what they’re trying to do is hide their record and to say what they said in the past doesn’t matter.”

Borrud, a retired doctor, said abortion procedures are often not the choice women want to make, but it’s a right they should have.

“Politicians don’t belong in the doctor’s office making decisions about their health care,” Borrud said. She noted the American Medical Association strongly condemned the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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Borrud added that abortion rights are in the balance in the battle for control of the Minnesota Legislature. Senate measures including one incumbent GOP Sen. Carla Nelson supported would have limited access to abortion had they passed.

“Without codifying this right, and without control of the state legislature they will still limit access to abortion and make it almost impossible for women to get abortions,” Borrud said.

Smith agreed, saying although abortion rights aren’t specifically on the ballot, policy makers and people who appoint judges make decisions affecting access to those rights.

“It matters who appoints the judges that decide; it matters who is the attorney general who enforces state laws,” Smith said. “That issue matters if we want to protect our freedoms."

John Molseed joined the Post Bulletin in 2018. He covers arts, culture, entertainment, nature and other fun stories he's surprised he gets paid to cover. When he's not writing articles about Southeast Minnesota artists and musicians, he's either picking banjo, brewing beer, biking or looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter "b." Readers can reach John at 507-285-7713 or jmolseed@postbulletin.com.
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