Dayton supports abortion on demand, including the barbaric partial-birth abortion procedure, and he favors using tax dollars to pay for elective abortions. He opposes modest regulations such as Woman's Right to Know—which requires that basic information regarding risks and alternatives be offered to women considering abortion—and laws requiring parental notification before a minor girl has an abortion. He has also harshly criticized the work of pregnancy care centers that help pregnant women in need, claiming they "scare [women] into not having abortions."
His position is made clear in an April 2010 letter to pro-abortion blogger Rachel Nygaard, in which he wrote:
I strongly support a woman's right to choice, and I have a 35-year record in strong support of that right. As a U.S. Senator, I voted consistently for pro-choice measures. I voted against the so-called "partial-birth abortion" ban. And I voted against Senate confirmations of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alioto [sic], in significant part because of their anticipated anti-choice positions.During his six years in the U.S. Senate, Dayton voted against the pro-life position 17 out of 18 times (94 percent). These include votes in favor of abortions in military facilities, endorsing Roe v. Wade, keeping partial-birth abortion legal, funding pro-abortion organizations overseas, and funding embryo-destructive research. He also voted against parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor from another state.
My positions earned me very high ratings and frequent commendations from NARAL, including "Hero of the Month."
In addition to his abortion extremism, Dayton advocates a single-payer health care system that would lead to rationing of care for the most vulnerable. He voted against the Medicare Modernization Act to prevent the denial of lifesaving care to elderly persons and ensure that pro-rationing price controls cannot be imposed.
In the general election on Nov. 2, Dayton faces pro-abortion Independence Party candidate Tom Horner and pro-life Republican Tom Emmer, who has a long record in support of the right to life.
Update (8/26): As mentioned above, Dayton did have one pro-life vote during his time in the Senate. But that's a bit misleading: Dayton voted for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in 2004, but not before he twice voted for amendments to gut the legislation and prevent any legal recognition of the unborn child.
Also in 2004, Dayton co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act, the most radical piece of pro-abortion legislation ever put before Congress. FOCA would wipe out virtually every limitation on abortion, no matter how modest, re-legalize partial-birth abortion, and mandate taxpayer funding of elective abortions.
Update (8/31): Planned Parenthood, the state's (and nation's) leading abortion provider, officially endorsed Dayton for governor on Aug. 25.
In addition, Dayton has now been endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. In the press release, Dayton states, "I am very honored to have the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. I have strongly supported a woman's right to choose throughout my entire career, and am committed to protecting women's rights if I am elected Governor."