Former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards is in Minnesota, kicking off the start of early voting by campaigning with several Democratic candidates running for office in the state.
Early voting begins today in Minnesota, and Democrats have spent the day pushing supporters to cast their ballots, including multiple events featuring Richards.
Sen. Tina Smith joined Richards for a “Early Vote Rally” hosted by DFL-aligned student groups at the University of Minnesota. Smith–who was the Vice PResident of Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota–has had a long history with the controversial group, a badge she has worn proudly over the course of the election season.
At the rally, Smith praised Planned Parenthood, saying it gives people the “freedom to make the decision that you want to make.” That freedom, according to Smith, is at risk.
Richards, who Smith considers a “friend and a mentor,” then took the stage to rally for early voting. Smith says this election will “change the direction of America.”
“This is not only the most important election of our lifetime, this is literally the election where we are going to change the direction of America and take our country back,” Smith said.
“If the majority of the United States Senate could get pregnant, we could quit fighting about Planned Parenthood and birth control and safe and legal abortions,” Smith added.
Peggy Flanagan, who is running as Lieutenant Governor with Democrat Tim Walz, also attended the rally, calling Richards a “pioneer of women’s rights.”
Cecile Richards is a pioneer of women’s rights and it is an honor to be on stage with her and @TinaSmithMN today at the U of M campus. Students and young folks are incredibly important to our state and their voices deserve to be heard. #OneMinnesota #mngov pic.twitter.com/mhGtaQXMeB
— Peggy Flanagan (Untamed) (@peggyflanagan) September 21, 2018
Following the rally, Richards and Smith joined Democratic congressional candidate Angie Craig for a discussion on “what’s at stake for women’s health this election cycle.” Candidate for Minnesota House of Representatives Ruth Richardson also joined the discussion.
Stephani Liesmaki, Director of Communications for Minnesota Family Council, says Richards’ presence in Minnesota demonstrates Planned Parenthood’s fear that Minnesotans are going to elect pro-life candidates this election cycle.
“After eight years of Governor vetoes of excellent pro-life legislation such as licensure and regulation of abortion facilities, a ban on taxpayer funding of abortions, and legislation to prevent fetal pain by banning abortions after 20 weeks, Minnesotans want new leadership,” Liesmaki said. “Minnesotans want leaders in elected office who will champion life for the most vulnerable.”
Liesmaki pointed to Minnesota Family Council’s upcoming 2018 Voter Guide as a way Minnesotans can easily identify pro-life candidates.
“Pro-life Minnesotans can and must continue to seize the unprecedented opportunity before them this November by voting for candidates who will advocate for the dignity and protection of human life in the womb,” Liesmaki said.