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From 'positive step' to 'dangerous and chilling,' locals react to Roe v. Wade decision

roe protest 7.JPG
Nick Swartsell
Autumn Ashford at a protest in Cincinnati in May, after a draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked.

Local organizations, officials, and residents have mixed reaction to the Supreme Court's decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade.

As NPR reports, the decision, most of which was leaked in early May, means that abortion rights will be rolled back in nearly half of the states immediately, with more restrictions likely to follow. For all practical purposes, abortion will not be available in large swaths of the country.


Cincinnati Right to Life leaders say they’re ready to provide more resources to pregnant women.

"We know it's going to be a time that the community is asked for more resources to support women who are choosing life," said executive director Laura Strietmann. "This is not, 'you have to help them the rest of their life.' Having a baby and choosing life is empowering. Women are meant to be maternal and have a child."

Read more: The future of abortion in the Tri-State now that Roe has failed

Overall, Strietmann says anti-abortion advocates are feeling a mix of emotions as their fight pivots to states where abortion is still legal, including Ohio.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio CEO Iris Harvey says the decision is "dangerous and chilling" and could have devastating consequences in the state.

“Make no mistake – this decision goes beyond abortion. This is about who has power over you, who has the authority to make decisions for you, and who can control how your future is going to be," Harvey said in a statement. "Nevertheless, you can still seek an abortion in Ohio today. Our patients have and will remain our highest priority.”

The Archbishop of Cincinnati, Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr calls the decision a "positive step toward a culture of life."

"I urge everyone in our archdiocese to both pray for and actively assist all expectant mothers," Schnurr said in a statement. "Together, let us redouble our commitment to caring for women, children and families so that abortion is not only illegal, but unthinkable."

Listen on Cincinnati Edition: What are the legal and societal implications of overturning Roe v. Wade?

Planned Parenthood Ohio abortion provider Dr. Adarsh Krishen got emotional when talking about the decision during a virtual press conference.

"Our commitment to our patients receiving the care they need remains steadfast and unwavering," he said. "This will not change."

Krishen says in the event he is not allowed to perform abortions in Ohio he will assist patients in getting the care they need.


Elected Officials

U.S. Senate

Democrat Sherrod Brown: "This is a radical decision by an increasingly out-of-touch court," Brown tweeted Friday. "When, how, and whether to have a family is one of the most personal and meaningful decisions we can make in life ... the President and Congress must take action to restore protections for women to make their own health choices."

Republican Rob Portman: "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," Portman tweeted in a statement. "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."

Sen. Portman is not running for re-election. Republican candidate JD Vance praised the decision in a statement, saying it begins a new phase of the "pro-life" movement.

"Today is a great day," Vance said in a statement. "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."

Democratic candidate Tim Ryan says the decision is "the largest case of government overreach" in his lifetime.

"This ruling greenlights extreme proposals in Ohio that could jail doctors and deny women access to lifesaving care," Ryan said in a statement. "The only way forward is to expand our pro-choice majority."

U.S. House

Republican Rep. Steve Chabot has not issued a statement as of 8:45 p.m.

Greg Landsman is the Democrat challenging Chabot in the November election.

"Personal freedom is central to our democracy, and denying women the right to decide what happens to their own bodies is dangerous and will be deadly," Landsman said in a statement. "Congress must act to codify the rights afforded for fifty years by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey so that women and children are guaranteed this basic, fundamental right."


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) asked Ohioans to pull together for a civil, respectful debate.

"My purpose tonight is not to debate the merits of this decision," DeWine said. "Those of you who are pro-choice believe this is a matter of freedom and is a decision only the woman can make. Those who are pro-life, including my wife Fran and me, believe the life of a human being is at stake and that we have an obligation to protect that innocent life."

DeWine's challenger, Democrat Nan Whaley, said she has never been more committed to the fight to preserve abortion access.

"As someone whose mother fought for these rights and has had this basic autonomy over my body my whole life, I am absolutely heartbroken. I'm angry beyond words," Whaley tweeted.


Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval will make an announcement Monday at 9 a.m. to announce "new city health policies to protect employees and their families."

"[The Supreme Court] decision strips the constitutional guarantee that women can make their own health care decisions, and as Mayor of Cincinnati, I will be fighting hard to ensure that Cincinnati stands as a beacon for women’s rights," Pureval said in a statement. "The City will be announcing legislation and new administrative policies to ensure our City employees and their families have access to the medical care they deserve."

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.