The U.S. Supreme Court

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s elected leaders were quick to sound off Friday when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case from Mississippi.

In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled abortions are not protected under the U.S. Constitution. Instead, it’s up to elected leaders in individual states to determine their own laws on the issue.

In essence, Friday’s ruling overturns the landmark decision of Roe vs. Wade issued on Jan. 22, 1973. In that case, the Court ruled the U.S. Constitution generally protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion.

Ohio politicians voiced their opinion on the matter, largely along party lines. 

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat and Mansfield native, released the following statement after the court’s decision was announced.

“For 50 years, women in America had the right to make their own personal health care decisions. Today, five judges handed that right over to politicians. This will be the first generation of women to grow up with fewer rights and freedoms than their mothers and grandmothers, and this burden will be disproportionately carried by low-income women and women of color,” Brown said.

“This is a radical decision by an increasingly out-of-touch court, and Americans won’t stand for it. When, how, and whether to have a family is one of the most personal and meaningful decisions we make in life, and the freedom to make those decisions for yourself, free from political interference, should be available to everyone. The president and Congress must take action restoring protections for women to make their own health choices, and women will make their voices heard in voting booths around Ohio and the country this November,” Brown said.

Ohio’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Rob Portman of Cincinnati, had the opposite take.

“Today’s ruling is consistent with my view that policy questions regarding abortion should be decided by the elected representatives of the people, not the Supreme Court. Through its ruling today, the Court made this clear. The states already play a significant role in abortion policy, but have been constrained by various Supreme Court rulings. Now the issue of abortion will be decided by the states and the elected representatives closest to the people,” Portman said.

“While abortion is a very sensitive and emotional issue with strong feelings on both sides, I think most Americans agree that human life is precious and should be protected wherever possible. To that end, we should do more to work together in a bipartisan manner to promote adoption, reduce the number of abortions, and provide support for pregnant women in difficult circumstances,” Portman said.

State Rep. Darrell Kick (Loudonville) issued the following statement:

“Today the United States Supreme Court made a decision to overturn Roe v. Wade allowing the states the right to decide on the matter,” Kick said. “All unborn children have the right to life and that life must be protected at all costs. We should also continue to provide help and support to young women that may find themselves in a situation where they need alternative options.

“I will always continue to fight for the unborn and protect life as this historic decision continues to be analyzed. Work remains to be done on this issue and I look forward to getting back to Columbus to work with my Colleagues in the Ohio House of Representatives.”

Democrat Tim Ryan, serving as the U.S. representative for Ohio’s 13th congressional district since 2013 and a candidate to replace Portman on the November ballot, offered his thoughts.

“Today’s disastrous decision is the largest case of government overreach in my lifetime. By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court is gutting a long-established right in order to put politicians between women and their doctors. Even worse, this ruling gives the green light to those here in Ohio who have introduced legislation that would deny women access to potentially lifesaving care, and threaten to put women and doctors in jail,” Ryan said.

“We saw this coming, which is why as a member of Congress I’ve voted repeatedly to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, only to watch it die in the Senate along with so many other bills that would protect health care and help women and families. It’s clear the Senate is not working the way it’s supposed to and Ohio women will pay the price. It has never been more important that we expand our pro-choice majority, end the filibuster, and pass legislation to protect the fundamental right to an abortion.”

His foe this fall in the quest to replace the retiring Portman, Republican J.D. Vance, took the opposing viewpoint.

“I am 37 years old, and for my entire life abortion on demand — decreed by an unelected panel of judges — has been forced on the nation. Today is a great day. It vindicates a half century of work, and gives us an opportunity to live up our founding creed — that all of us are truly created equal,” Vance said.

“We now enter a new phase of the pro-life movement. We will continue the fight to ensure that every young mother has the resources they need to bring new life into the world. We will build an economy where it’s possible to sustain and support our children. We will expand adoption and promote pregnancy centers, so that every child has the loving home they deserve. Some of our efforts will be federal, and others local, but all will be focused on the simple principle that life is worth protecting — from the moment it begins until its natural end.”

Ohio’s Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, a Republican, shared a personal story on the ruling.

“As we transition as a nation from Roe to Dobbs, we all need to do our best to understand and respect the heartfelt, genuine differences of opinions among our families, friends, neighbors and communities. Being an adoptee who started life in a foster home, my own experience helped shape my views on this issue,” Husted said.

“I’m here today because my birth mother chose life and put me up for adoption, which I know could not have been an easy decision for her. My prayer for all of us is this collective experience will build a more compassionate nation that values life.”

Republican Congressman Troy Balderson has served as the U.S. representative from Ohio’s 12th congressional district since 2018. He served as an Ohio state senator representing the 20th district from 2011 until his election to Congress.

“Today’s decision is a win for the unborn, the Constitution, and States’ rights. Contrary to the political rhetoric and sensationalized coverage, at the core of today’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson is a restoration of States’ rights,” Balderson said.

“Rather than preempting state-level policymaking, as has been the case for the intervening decades since Roe v. Wade, Statehouses across this country will once again have the authority to write laws based on the will of their respective voters.”

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