Walz and Ellison stoke fear with talk of extradition

Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison wasted no time last week politicizing the Dobbs decision to rile up their liberal base of supporters. Walz quickly tweeted his initial thoughts from his campaign Twitter account:

Most of the press covering the Governor remained predictably incurious, with the exception of David Orrick in the Pioneer Press who noted “The statement isn’t entirely correct.”

In the short term, there’s nothing a governor can do to change Minnesota’s Doe v. Gomez decision, which found the same dubious right to abortion in the Minnesota Constitution that Roe v. Wade found in the U.S. Constitution. Doe v. Gomez is not affected by the overturning of Roe — abortion law did not change at all with last week’s ruling, despite the hyperbole from Walz.

Ellison held a press conference announcing his office would not assist any state in the extradition of their citizens who travelled to Minnesota to receive an abortion.

Walz followed that with an executive order over the weekend telling state agencies under his control to “decline requests for the arrest or surrender of any person charged with a criminal violation of a law of another state where the violation alleged involves the provision of, assistance with, securing of, or receipt of reproductive health care services.” During the press conference, he resorted to scare tactics just as he did repeatedly during the pandemic.  

“You got a family member in Texas who calls and asks what you can do to help them, that phone call subjects you to Texas felony laws for aiding and abetting someone for making their own personal healthcare decisions.”

Walz is playing fast and loose with the facts, and as usual, no one in the Minnesota media called him on it.

There were two recent abortion laws passed in Texas. SB 8 regulates drug-induced abortion procedures and creates a new felony for medical practitioners who violate the new law. It specifically exempts women, stating: “A pregnant woman on whom a drug-induced abortion is attempted, induced, or performed in violation of this subchapter is not criminally liable for the violation.”

The other new Texas law (SB 4), includes the aiding and abetting language referenced by Gov. Walz. But that law is enforced through civil action and does not include a felony.

Walz conflates the penalty from one law with the aiding and abetting language of the other to scare Minnesotans into thinking they could be committing a felony if they talk to their cousin in Texas about an abortion. Walz scaring Minnesotans is nothing new, of course (remember the morgue?).

The idea that a woman in Minnesota would end up in jail waiting for extradition to another state after receiving an abortion is far-fetched, to say the least. Is the Anoka County Sheriff going to arrest a woman from South Dakota coming out of the abortion clinic, and then call Gov. Noem to start the extradition process? Ridiculous. Does Colorado arrest Minnesotans who travel there and visit a marijuana dispensary?

Even Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted in his concurrence that women have the right to travel to other states to receive abortions, writing:

Second, as I see it, some of the other abortion-related legal questions raised by today’s decision are not especially difficult as a constitutional matter. For example, may a State bar a resident of that State from traveling to another State to obtain an abortion? In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to interstate travel.

If Justice Kavanaugh believes women have a right to travel to receive an abortion, why are Walz and Ellison stoking fear with all this talk of extradition? The answer, of course, is politics.

Appearing strong on protecting abortion in Minnesota and scaring liberal voters into believing he’s the only thing standing in the way of their “rights” will energize his political base better than any other issue.

Any day Walz is talking about defending abortion and not his abysmal record on crime and gas station inflation is a good day for him.