Ohio Leaders, Organizations React to Supreme Court Reversal of 'Roe v. Wade'

Elected leaders, candidates and organizers in Cincinnati and Ohio are sounding off on the Roe v. Wade reversal.

click to enlarge Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval speaks at an abortion-support rally in 2022. - Photo: Mary LeBus
Photo: Mary LeBus
Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval speaks at an abortion-support rally in 2022.

Reactions from local and state leaders are rolling in after the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, nullifying the constitutional right to abortion care access for Americans.

Those celebrating the Supreme Court's decision include U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance.

"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," Vance said in a statement released Friday. "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."

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted released a statement on Friday, saying his experience as an adoptee whose mother “chose life” has informed his feelings on abortion care.

"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,” Husted says. “Being an adoptee who started life in a foster home, my own experience helped shape my views on this issue. 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."

Cincinnati Right to Life, a conservative christian organization that aims to eliminate abortion care access, released a statement celebrating the decision and "grieving" the terminated pregnancies since Roe.

"Today is a day to rejoice, and to grieve. Today is an ending and a beginning," the organization's director Laura Strietmann says in a statement released Friday. "After 49 plus years of the legalized execution of preborn children in America, in all nine months for any reason, today is the day we begin to respect the unborn once again, in the greatest country in the world. God bless America and all of the born and unborn in our nation."

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who could be instrumental in the next steps to enacting legislation on abortion access, released a statement after the court's decision.

“This decision returns abortion policy to the place it has always belonged: to the elected policy branches of government. Roe was poorly reasoned, a doctrine of shifting sands that invited perpetual litigation," Yost's office announced Friday. “We will continue to debate this issue. But passion is not a license to violence. I call again on my federal colleague, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and my fellow states’ attorneys general to publicly commit to holding violent protesters accountable under the law, no matter which side they are on."

Organizations seeking to push back against the decision and maintain access to abortion care have started rolling out statements on their next steps.

Ohio Women’s Alliance Action Fund, a reproductive justice organization that supports abortion care access, released a statement from co-executive director Rhiannon Carnes.

“Our in-state strategy ensures that we protect the Ohio Supreme Court, which has been a backstop for securing reproductive justice. OWA AF is already working with our members and partners to ensure that every Ohioan has the resources to obtain a legal abortion in the wake of this unjust, unconscionable ruling. We are all coming together to build independent political power against those stigmatizing abortion and forcing their political objective on our lives and bodies. And we will continue to fight like hell to maintain the right to abortion in our state and across the nation,” Carnes says.

Iris Harvey, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, pushed back against the decision in a statement released June 24. Harvey said the medical care provider will continue to serve their patients.

“By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has now officially given politicians permission to control what we do with our bodies, deciding that we can no longer be trusted to determine the course for our own lives,” Harvey says. “This dangerous and chilling decision can have devastating consequences in Ohio, forcing people to travel hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles for care or remain pregnant. Nevertheless, you can still seek an abortion in Ohio today. Our patients have and will remain our highest priority.”

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), which represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, released a statement Friday. It focuses on the ripple effect of removing safe abortion care access from the healthcare system.

“It is estimated that 26 states and 58% of people of reproductive age 1 will lose access to comprehensive reproductive health services,” the organization writes.

“The United States is facing a maternal and infant health crisis, with the number of maternal health deaths steadily rising since 1987, when this data was first collected. Black maternal mortality is three times higher than those of white counterparts due to structural racism, lack of access to high-quality medical care, and medical implicit bias. Research has shown that restricting people’s access to family planning and reproductive health services increases maternal mortality, disproportionally affecting communities already disenfranchised by systems of oppression, specifically Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.”

In Kentucky, leaders are preparing to fight for continued abortion care access as the state grapples with its own "trigger ban" that could restrict access in the commonwealth.

“To the women of our Commonwealth who, with the news today, are outraged and worried, know you are seen, you are heard, you are loved. While the court has rolled back rights that have been yours for almost 50 years, we will not stop fighting,” says Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge.

“Make no mistake: they won't stop with abortion. As a black man, as the father of a woman, as the brother of a gay man, I’ve never been in more fear for our future. This dangerous ruling lays the groundwork to dismantle our basic rights across the board. The extremists are already aiming at birth control and the rights that protect marginalized communities including women, communities of color and LGBTQ Americans are at risk.”

City Beat will continue to update this story.

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About The Author

Madeline Fening

Madeline Fening is CityBeat’s investigative news reporter. Proudly born and raised in Middletown, she attended Bowling Green State University before moving to Austin, Texas where she dabbled in documentary filmmaking, digital news and bartending. Madeline then moved to Cincinnati to work for WCPO 9 News as an...
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