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Minnesota GOP candidate called reproductive freedom 'fast road to hell'

Lieutenant governor candidate Matt Birk’s 2018 comments opposing sexual ‘freedom’ are not the only controversial remarks he’s made about women or abortion.

By Emily Singer - August 24, 2022
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Matt Birk reading an invocation at a Rochester, Minnesota campaign rally for Donald Trump in 2020 in front of three American flags
Former Minnesota Vikings football player Matt Birk reads the invocation to a crowd at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 in Rochester, Minn. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Remarks that Matt Birk, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Minnesota, once made referring to sexual freedom and birth control as the “fast road to hell” have been unearthed.

Birk gave a speech in 2018 at a conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Humanae Vitae, which is a letter written by Pope Paul IV in 1968 that condemns abortion and opposes the use of birth control. During his speech, Birk praised the Catholic Church for its longstanding opposition to artificial contraception.

“So this whole Sexual Revolution, which was billed as this freedom, ‘do whatever you want’ — I don’t know if it’s a slow road to Hell. It seems like it might be a fast road to Hell, right? Because that’s not what we were built for. That’s not what we were built for,” Birk, said in the 2018 speech.

Birk also said, “I know when I read Humanae Vitae — it was written 50 years ago — it’s just so prophetic and so true to who God is and what He created us for.”

The Humanae Vitae encyclical declares on behalf of the Church that contraception is “intrinsically wrong.” It further reads, “We are obliged once more to declare that [methods for] the direct interruption of the generative process … are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children.”

It came out a few years after the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, overturning laws banning the use of contraceptives by married couples.

These are not the first controversial comments from Birk to come to light since his decision to run for office. In 2020, Birk said abortion is “evil” and that rape victims getting abortions will “only make things worse.”

On the day the Supreme Court issued their ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 ruling recognizing rights to an abortion — Birk gave a speech at an anti-abortion organization’s event declaring that the fight against abortion is “not over.”

“Our culture loudly, but also stealthily, promotes abortion. Telling women they should look a certain way, they should have careers, all these things,” Birk said.

In the same speech, Birk objected to supporting abortion access for rape victims. While acknowledging “Rape is obviously a horrible thing,” he claimed “an abortion is not going to heal the wounds of that. Two wrongs, it’s not going to make it right.”

He also compared abortion to slavery in yet another bizarre tangent of that speech that ended with a “joke” about women having the right to drive:

A lot of things have been legal before that we’ve changed, right. We always hear about, I’m sure you’ve heard — I know I’m talking to a bunch of pro-life warriors here — you know slavery used to be legal, right. Which is an interesting comparison to make, because really the way that the other side treats an unborn child is basically that the unborn child is the property of the mother. Other laws, you know, women used to not be able to vote in our country. Now we let ’em drive. I mean, I have three teenager daughters that drive, I don’t know if that’s a good law or not. Just kidding. Sorry, kidding, kidding to all the women out there. And don’t tell my wife I used that joke, she hates that joke.

Birk, a former NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, is the running mate of Scott Jensen, the Republican candidate for Governor of Minnesota. They are challenging Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan in November.

Like Birk, Jensen has also made multiple controversial comments. A report on Monday revealed that Jensen previously likened COVID-19 mitigation efforts like mask mandates to Kristallnacht, the 1938 antisemitic demonstrations in which Nazis and their sympathizers burned and destroyed synagogues, Jewish neighborhoods and Jewish businesses. He further defended the comparison in comments on Tuesday.

Walz, who previously served more than a decade in the House, was first elected governor in 2018, defeating his GOP opponent in that contest by more than 11 points. Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the anticipated result as a “Likely Democratic” victory.

Democrats have labeled Jensen and his running mate, Birk, as “too extreme” on abortion.

Access to contraception and abortion has become a major issue in the 2022 midterms, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June.

In a concurring opinion to the Dobbs decision, Justice Clarence Thomas said Supreme Court rulings in other cases like Griswold v. Connecticut should also be reviewed, which would further jeopardize the legal basis for defending access to contraception and reproductive rights.

Birk’s campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry from the American Independent Foundation for comment on whether he supports the use of birth control.

Video of Birk’s 2018 remarks, starting at about 23 minutes, is below.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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