Open Letter to the Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life
Dear Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life,
My goal is to achieve a world where every child is born healthy and wanted by healthy parents. I believe you have the same goal. In fact, I believe the vast majority of people have that same goal regardless of whether they label themselves pro-life or pro-choice. It is in the spirit of these shared values I believe we hold that I am reaching out to you today.
I received your candidate questionnaire and was excited to respond. Abortion is a critical issue I want to engage with and, although I understand why voter guides are frequently organzied this way, five yes or no questions doesn’t provide an opportunity to appropriately address this topic. My aim is to have a constructive dialogue that unites us and moves us closer to victories in our shared goals.
While plenty of unintended pregnancies are still wanted, we know that unintended pregnancies do make up the bulk of legal and illegal abortions. When I look for ways to reduce unintended pregnancies, I have found that current research points to two extremely effective tools.
The first thing we need is comprehensive and scientifically accurate reproductive health education. Speaking as a former 10th grade biology teacher, I have heard some of the internet rumors on reproduction our children think are true. Regardless of where they hear it, the only way to combat it is through giving our children the truth. Many states have tried abstinence only reproductive health education and despite the best of intentions, have found it counterproductive towards the goal.
Teaching natural family planning, including abstinence, alongside other birth control options has proven to be effective. By empowering our students with all the tools they could need for any possible scenario, we see that they’re better able to choose practices that avoid pregnancy until they’re ready.
Secondly, there should be easier access to affordable birth control for those who want it. Colorado made birth control free for a period of time and saw a decrease in their abortion rate, teen pregnancy rate, and STI rate. The program more than paid for itself because of the drop in new welfare claims. Other states have tried making birth control accessible over the counter. That method crosses the political divide so well that Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have both supported it. Ensuring accessible and affordable birth control lowers the rates of unintended pregnancies and therefore abortions.
The additional benefit to both of these policies is that they can be implemented immediately with no prolonged and uncertain court battle. We can follow the lead of strong pro-life advocate and Governor of Ohio John Kasich who had legislation on his desk in 2018 that would have banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat was detected. He made it clear that despite personally agreeing morally and philosophically with the legislation, he knew it would be struck down by the courts because that’s what had happened to all the identical bills from other states. Rather than funnel taxpayer money to lawyers destined to come up unsuccessful, he vetoed the legislation and searched for other options.
There are options available to us right now that would lower Minnesota’s abortion rate. They are proven effective and will be embraced by Democratic lawmakers which will massively increase their chances of passing and having a meaningful impact on lives immediately. I am ready to fight hard for them the moment I am elected and I sincerely hope you will be there fighting alongside me. We have a shared goal and I know that together we can reach it.
I said at the start of this letter that five yes or no questions wasn’t enough to fully cover this topic and I know that a one page letter doesn’t achieve that either. I hope this can be the start of a long partnership between you, the voters of SD1, and me. I look forward to hearing back from you about the ideas our campaign is running on and the possibility of an endorsement.