Early in his campaign Wayne Stenehjem said several things that made it seem almost like he was trying to lose the votes of pro life Republicans and, even more broadly, all of the social conservatives in North Dakota.
But since that time his rhetoric has become both more specific and much more encouraging. Stenehjem has not only claimed to be pro life but he has also stated that he supports and would have signed each and every one of the pro life bills that were passed by the ND legislature in 2011 and 2013 and signed into law by Governor Dalrymple.
More important than Stenehjem’s pro life rhetoric, however, are the actions he has taken as attorney general in defense of these pro life bills. His critics will dismiss this as merely carrying out the duties of his office. But the truth is that the attorney general can always refuse to defend a law and several leftists (including the Forum Editorial Board) lobbied aggressively for Stenehjem to refuse to defend these bills. Of the five bills only one was ultimately struck down in court.
It should be tremendously encouraging to pro life North Dakotans that when Stenehjem had to choose between defending these pro life bills and endearing himself to the most powerful media conglomerate in the state he chose to do the right thing. The recent misleading smear against Stenehjem regarding taxpayer funding of abortion is just that as my editor explains here.
It is true that Paul Sorum has a consistent record of publicly speaking out for the right to life of about-to-be-born children. But it is also true that Paul Sorum is not going to be governor just as the Democrat candidate, Marvin Nelson, is not going to be governor. Either Doug Burgum or Wayne Stenehjem is going to be the next governor and which of them it will be is going to be determined by the early voting taking place right now and on the June 14th primary.
If Sorum manages to persuade a handful of pro lifers to throw a protest vote his way and that leads to a Burgum victory then Sorum will have done a tremendous disservice to the pro life movement.
Doug Burgum has spoken out aggressively against the right to life of about-to-be-born children. He has used nearly every pro abortion talking point that the left has developed in the last fifty years to advance his view. He has said that he “doesn’t feel qualified” to “make a decision” on when an individual’s life begins (which is something you can learn from a typical high school biology textbook).
But all of this feigned humility doesn’t lead to any hesitancy in enforcing his view that these children should have no legal rights whatsoever. He has been clear that he would have vetoed the pro life bills that both the ND House and the ND Senate recently passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Again, remember, only one of these was struck down in court. The remaining four are in place and saving lives but they would not be if Doug Burgum had been governor.