• Paul Stark

Tina Smith, former abortion industry executive, aims to keep Franken's U.S. Senate seat

"I'm … the only senator who has ever worked at Planned Parenthood," said Tina Smith recently on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, where she was protesting the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh (whom she fears may "cast that decisive fifth vote to overturn Roe [v. Wade]").

Smith served as a vice president at Planned Parenthood's Minnesota affiliate. It's a job about which she's not afraid to boast. She told the Star Tribune in January that she's "very proud" of the organization's work.

Planned Parenthood ended the lives of 6,234 human beings in Minnesota last year.

During Smith's tenure in the abortion industry (2003-2006), Planned Parenthood increased its annual abortion total by 22 percent and became the state's leading abortion practitioner (it has only grown its dominance of the market in the years since).


Smith also lobbied against Minnesota's Woman's Right to Know law, which ensures informed consent prior to abortion, and Minnesota's Positive Alternatives program, which empowers women who want to keep their babies by providing support and alternatives.

Sarah Stoesz, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, later told the Star Tribune: "[Smith] really built our education and outreach efforts. She's got a pretty strong legacy around here."

Smith went on to serve as Gov. Mark Dayton's chief of staff and then his lieutenant governor—a period during which Dayton vetoed numerous pro-life bills—before Dayton appointed her to replace Al Franken in the U.S. Senate following Franken's resignation.

Since taking office early this year, Smith has voted against protection for unborn children after 20 weeks, when they can experience pain while being dismembered. She also voted against the confirmation of former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, despite his bipartisan support (including support by Sen. Amy Klobuchar) and a "unanimously well qualified" rating by the American Bar Association.

And she has promised to vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kavanaugh, a federal judge whose experience and qualifications are considered beyond reproach, believes that judges "must interpret the law, not make the law," he explained in his post-nomination remarks.

Smith is now running to keep her Senate seat in a special election. Her Republican-endorsed opponent is state Sen. Karin Housley. Housley has consistently voted for pro-life measures in the state Legislature, and she provided a 100 percent pro-life response to MCCL's candidate questionnaire (Smith did not respond to the questionnaire).

"Life is a gift, and it should be protected," Housley writes on her website. "As a mother and grandmother, I believe every effort should be made to protect and honor life."

This article first appeared in the June-August 2018 issue of MCCL News.

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