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DeWine talks about Dobbs decision as Ohio's six-week abortion ban takes effect

Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. Mike DeWine talks to reporters after signing Ohio's six-week abortion ban in April 2019, four months after taking office. He had pledged to sign the ban during the campaign to succeed Republican former Gov. John Kasich, who had vetoed the ban a few months earlier.

A federal court has lifted a legal hold on Ohio’s six-week abortion ban passed in 2019, and state lawmakers are expected to pass a total abortion ban in Ohio later this year.

But Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican and staunch anti-abortion politician, didn't talk about either of those in a five-minute statement Friday evening that aired on the Ohio Channel and other outlets statewide.

DeWine stressed the importance of keeping abortion protests civil and respectful, saying he knows the decision is "deeply troubling to many of you."

DeWine added, "It is going to be very easy to let this debate get rough and tough — and there is certainly nothing wrong with spirited debate. However, we must do it in a way that recognizes that smart, sincere, dedicated, and caring people can have very, very different and equally heartfelt views. The First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech — and those who choose to exercise that right — must be respected and must be protected."

DeWine said more than a billion state dollars have been invested in prenatal care, parenting classes, and other assistance. But he said more should be done to lower infant and maternal deaths, especially among African Americans, and that no mother or child should go hungry, live in inadequate housing, or suffer the effects of toxic lead paint exposure.

“I’ve directed our state health and human service agencies to bring me innovative new ideas for ensuring that vulnerable mothers are immediately identified and always taken care of," DeWine said.

DeWine said he'll be working with state lawmakers and local communities "to improve the quality of pre- and post-natal care, to increase the frequency of maternal depression screenings, and to expand mental health resources for women who experience miscarriages." He also said he wants to work to increase adoption awareness and that "we will seek to expand healthcare coverage to more mothers and children."

Nan Whaley, Democratic nominee for Ohio governor who will be facing off against DeWine in the November election, fired back at her gubernatorial opponent and criticized the statewide address.

"Once again, Mike DeWine is attempting to falsely moderate his extreme positions in an attempt to win an election," Whaley said.

Whaley said DeWine is one of the most "anti-choice" governors in the country.

"Abortion is on the ballot in Ohio this November and no matter how much DeWine tries to spin the need for ‘a civil discussion,’ voters won’t forget his actions when it came to failing to protect women’s rights,” said Whaley.

The six-week abortion ban went into effect in Ohio after a federal judge ruled that the injunction, which was previously enforced on the law, be lifted. Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, filed paperwork in court Friday morning following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.