Star Tribune: Sen. Tina Smith's Planned Parenthood tenure primes her to be leading voice post-Roe

The Minnesota Democrat's work for the abortion provider makes her the only U.S. senator with that experience.  

WASHINGTON — The lone senator who previously worked for Planned Parenthood was overwhelmed when she learned the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, upending decades of nationwide abortion rights.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota had been preparing for the ruling. But after news broke of the court's decision, realizing Democrats' fears and fulfilling Republican hopes, Smith said she confided to a staffer that she thought she would cry before pulling herself together.

"Just because you know something terrible is going to happen doesn't mean that when it actually happens you don't feel really angry and upset," said Smith, who was vice president for external affairs at what was then Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota from 2003 to 2006.

Even though she didn't provide care, Smith remembers seeing what it took. She saw the people in Planned Parenthood's waiting room "getting the health care that they needed so that they could live the lives that they wanted to live." In a post-Roe America, Smith's experience is primed to make her an important figure in a Democratic party shaken by the Supreme Court's decision.

Ahead of the Supreme Court's ruling, Maggee Becker, policy associate for the Minnesota Catholic Conference, said in an e-mail that "Smith should not, through congressional legislation, try to impose abortion-on-demand on states that decide legal abortion is contrary to their principles."

While those like Smith are deeply alarmed by the ramifications of the ruling, others are celebrating the high court throwing the issue back to the states.


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