Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio announced their endorsement of Tim Ryan in this year’s U.S. Senate race Tuesday, July 12.
The decision to back the ten-term Democratic congressman over his self-described “100% pro-life” opponent J.D. Vance is unsurprising, but it offers another example of Democrats’ interest in mobilizing around the issue of abortion rights.
Reiterating the case he’s made numerous times since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling came down, Ryan argued overturning Roe v. Wade represents “governmental overreach” that violates “personal freedom and personal liberty.”
“We have a small group of people who have who are trying to jam an extreme ideology down the throats of all the other citizens of this state and country, and we’re just not going to have it,” Ryan insisted.
Iris Harvey, who heads up Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, argued the state and the country are on the verge of a public health crisis, as abortion access faces greater restrictions around the nation.
“We need somebody in the Senate like Tim,” she said. “It’s more important than ever that we elect leaders who will be unequivocal in their support for reproductive freedom.”
Harvey noted Ryan notched a 100% rating on the organization’s federal scorecard. In addition to the backing of Planned Parenthood’s Ohio affiliate and it’s national political action committee, Ryan has the endorsement of NARAL.
Recent polling suggests Americans oppose the Dobbs decision, and support at least some access to abortion. Democrats in Ohio are trying to capitalize on that frustration to maximize turnout within the party and maybe peel off some number of moderate Republicans.
Republican political observers are quick to note that attention spans are short, and November is a long way away. But Republican lawmakers seem intent on keeping the issue on the front burner.
Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickery, introduced legislation this week that would define “personhood” as beginning at conception — effectively banning abortion from that moment unless the mother’s life is in danger. The proposal would also throw in vitro fertilization and some IUD contraceptives into dubious legal territory if passed as it’s written.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Nan Whaley was quick to respond, saying “this legislation is further proof that Governor DeWine and the extremists in the Legislature will stop at nothing until all abortions are illegal in our state.”
In a regular survey from the website FiveThirtyEight respondents who rank abortion as a significant issue effectively doubled after the decision. But even there, only about 1 in 5 respondents identified abortion in the survey, lagging far behind the issues of polarization, crime and inflation.
A Harvard University/Harris Poll found a similar number of respondents concerned about abortion, but at least so far, the decision has had a “net neutral” impact on voting ahead of the midterms.
As Ryan attempts to make abortion access more of a voting issue, he has no problem describing what he opposes, but he’s a bit vague about what abortion policy should look like.
Ryan insisted no one “celebrates” abortions. Pressed on what sort of restrictions he would support, Ryan argued for a hands-off approach. He said the question should not be about “when” to allow the procedure but “who” should make the call. Ryan offered the example of a pregnancy facing serious complications at eight months.
“Who makes that decision? The government?” he asked in disbelief.
“I think in America,” he went on, “that is a country built on personal freedom, that we don’t want J.D. Vance and these other people making that decision for those women.”
A version of this story was originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal and republished here with permission.
Stay connected with CityBeat. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google News, Apple News and Reddit.
Send CityBeat a news or story tip or submit a calendar event.