Oregonians react to Roe v. Wade decision
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling Friday, June 24, which has protected women's reproductive rights for nearly half a century.
A leaked document had foreshadowed the seismic shift in the court, which had upheld other reproductive rights cases in the decades following Roe.
The high court on Friday eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, which leaves the question of abortion to the states, not the federal government. The ruling was on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, about two months earlier than what has been allowed under Supreme Court precedent dating back to Roe.
In Oregon, reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling was swift.
"When you have to make the most intimate, personal decisions that will impact your life and your health and body, I don't know anyone who wants some politician in the room," U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley said in a statement. "Yet, that is exactly the impact of this Supreme Court opinion for millions and millions of Americans who suddenly find an overbearing government dictating their path. This assault on Americans' rights and freedom is shocking."
He was joined by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, whose district includes much of Portland. "Today I join millions of Americans feeling the shocking loss of reproductive freedom in our country," he said. "This is not merely a political or legal issue. This is profoundly personal, speaking to an individual's right to control their body and rely on a half-century of legal, constitutional certainty."
Oregon's only female member of Congress, Suzanne Bonamici, also decried the ruling.
"The Supreme Court's decision to overturn abortion rights is infuriating, heartbreaking and dangerous. Abortion is health care. Abortion care is essential for the health and well-being of families and communities. I remember the days before Roe v. Wade, when abortions done without medical care could have tragic outcomes — including death. … We will not let this decision stop our fight to make abortion care accessible and available to all. I have helped the House pass legislation to put Roe v. Wade into law, and I will continue doing all I can to get it over the finish line."
The ruling has begun roiling November's general election. Both candidates for Oregon's 5th Congressional District spoke out early Friday.
Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer praised the ruling. "The Supreme Court is allowing the states to legislate on this critically important issue, where it should have been in the first place," she said. "As a mom of twin daughters, I deeply value life. Here in Oregon, we have some of the most extreme abortion laws in the country with no restrictions whatsoever."
Her November opponent, Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, took the opposite position. "Extremist politics has won the day over our fundamental right to make decisions about our own bodies," she said. "History will hang its head on this somber step backward by the U.S. Supreme Court majority. We know this ruling will negatively impact the health and well-being of so many Americans — we also know it is just the first step for this extremist court."
Two candidates for governor — Democrat Tina Kotek and independent Betsy Johnson — both issued pro-choice statements defending women's reproductive rights. They will face Republican Christine Drazan in November; Drazan had not spoken out on the high court ruling on Friday morning.
Oregon protects reproductive rights
Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan released a statement reminding Oregonians that abortion remains legal in Oregon and those living in other parts of the country can travel to Oregon to get an abortion.
California and Washington also protect reproductive rights by codifying them into law.
"While our rights are protected in Oregon, today's decision will have devastating consequences around the country," Fagan said. "This is a difficult day, and many of us are concerned for our communities and our children. We are in this together though. I've been in this struggle to support access to abortion and I'll continue to be no matter what."
However, several Republicans in Washington, D.C., have called for a federal ban on abortions, should Republicans take the White House and Congress. It is not clear how this Supreme Court would rule on such a sweeping ban.
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