On the left: Many elected officials decry abortion ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court's long-anticipated abortion ruling came down Friday, June 24, overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. And in Oregon, Democrats quickly slammed the ruling.
Gov. Kate Brown and the governors of Washington and California issued a joint statement to protect women's right to access abortion and contraceptives.
"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 wellbeing 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."
Oregon Legislators weighed in, as well. "This will go down as an incredibly dark day in American history," said Speaker of the House Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis. "Let's be clear about the stakes: The extreme Dobbs decision will make women and individuals across the country less safe. It will harm millions of people, most specifically people of color and low-income individuals, and worsen existing inequality."
House Majority Leader Julie Fahey, D-Eugene, wrote, "My generation has never known a world where we did not have the right to a safe, legal abortion. Until today."
Rep. Zach Hudson, D-Troutdale, spoke about how the decision will hurt millions across the country. "I am dismayed by today's ruling. Everyone should have the right to decide if and when they have children, based on what's best for them and their family's circumstances," he said. "Abortion is still safe, legal and affordable because of protections we've passed in recent years (in Oregon). Now, we are committed to expanding abortion access and protecting this fundamental right."
Mark Meek is a state representative for Oregon House District 40 and a candidate for Senate District 20 to represent Oregon City, Gladstone and Happy Valley.
"I am disappointed and horrified by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade. Every woman in America should have the right to access reproductive healthcare, including a safe, legal abortion - period," Meek said. "We cannot allow Oregon to slide backwards. These are medical decisions that should be made by women and their doctors; not judges and politicians. As a legislator I will always protect the right for women to access a safe, legal abortion in Oregon and oppose any efforts made within our state to dismantle them."
Rep. Ricki Ruiz, D-Gresham, wrote about taking proactive measures in appointing judges who reflect the views of their constituents.
"My heart is heavy knowing that future generations of Americans already have less rights than I did growing up," Ruiz wrote. "My purpose for wanting to serve all Oregonians is to make sure that they have better lives than they did before and I am terrified of the persecution of Americans that could follow for having received an abortion in the future and don't want anyone to experience fear of persecution for the right to choose."
City Councils aren't partisan in Oregon, but Gresham City Council President Eddy Morales spoke of standing up and fighting for the rights of women and all individuals who can become pregnant.
"As an elected official in Oregon — the state with the strongest protections for abortion access and care — I know that Oregon has a responsibility to lead," Morales said. "Many women, patients, and individuals will turn to Oregon in the weeks ahead — and we must meet them with compassion, support, and resilience."
The ruling also began roiling November's general election. The Democratic candidate for Oregon's 5th District, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, spoke out early Friday. "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 backwards by the U.S. Supreme Court majority. We know this ruling will negatively impact the health and wellbeing of so many Americans — we also know it is just the first step for this extremist court."
Two of the three candidates for Oregon governor — Democrat Tina Kotek and independent Betsy Johnson — issued pro-choice statements decrying the high court ruling.
Dr. Carrie Frederick Miles, chairwoman of the Oregon Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, issued a statement. "Todays decision in Dobbs v Jackson is a destructive setback for Ob-gyns and our patients," she wrote. "Our resolve, however, is unwavering. We stand ready to continue to provide safe, compassionate and legal abortion care in Oregon. We also pledge to continue to support all people who struggle against laws and regulations that interfere with the physician-patient relationship and block access to essential health care."
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.
Oregon passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which expanded access to reproductive health services and gender-affirming care, while also requiring insurers to cover abortions with no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. It also led to the Reproductive Health Equity Fund.
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