Democrats Use Second Anniversary Of Dobbs To Reaffirm Support For Abortion Rights

Lynne Terry, Oregon Capital Chronicle

A slew of Democratic politicians have fired off campaign statements and staged events in Oregon and across the country to mark the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision against abortion rights.

On June 24, 2022, the conservative court ruled 6-3 in favor of a Mississippi ban on abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That ruling overturned 50 years of constitutional abortion rights established by Roe v. Wade, kicking the decision on abortion back to states.

Since then, restrictions on abortion have spread, and today only nine states and the District of Columbia protect abortion rights. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that tracks abortion rights, Oregon and Vermont are the only states nationwide with full protections.

The issue has become a central part of Democratic campaigns, especially in swing districts like the 5th Congressional District in Oregon. Janelle Bynum, a Democratic state representative who’s vying to replace incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, repeated her support of abortion rights on Monday.

“I have fought tirelessly to protect reproductive rights and abortion access here in Oregon, and I’m ready to take the fight to Washington,” Bynum said in a statement.

Citing Capital Chronicle reporting, Bynum blasted Chavez-DeRemer for flip-flopping on the issue.

“In the 2022 Republican primary, Chavez-DeRemer made clear that she supported a nationwide abortion ban after six weeks, before most women even know they’re pregnant. A few months later, she then pledged she wouldn’t oppose funding for reproductive care. But in Congress, she revealed her true intentions – siding with anti-choice groups to block the federal government from reimbursing service members for their reproductive care and endangering IVF services.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has thrown its weight behind Bynum, announced Monday it’s launching a billboard campaign targeting Chavez-DeRemer on abortion rights, saying she had worked with “extremists” in supporting four anti-abortion bills that have passed the U.S. House.

“Over the next five months, we will ensure Oregonians do not forget that it was Lori Chavez-DeRemer who praised Donald Trump’s Supreme Court for ending reproductive freedom as we know it,” said Dan Gottlieb, a committee spokesman.

Chavez-DeRemer released her own statement on Monday. She praised the Dobbs decision but said she wouldn’t try to overturn abortion rights in Oregon.

“The Supreme Court’s decision took power away from unelected judges and put it in the hands of the people through their elected state legislators,” Chavez-DeRemer said. “Over the years, Oregonians have repeatedly made it clear that they want reproductive health rights protected. That’s why I’ve pledged to oppose federal policies that would fundamentally change reproductive health care access for women in Oregon.”

Abortion rights are also an issue in the campaigns for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, held by Democratic Rep. Val Hoyle. A member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, Hoyle repeated Monday her support of abortion rights.

“This anniversary serves as a reminder that the fight for reproductive equality is far from over. Anti-choice extremists are still working to take away reproductive freedoms, and we cannot stand by as these attacks continue,” Hoyle said.

Hoyle is a first-term representative like Chavez-DeRemer and also represents a district that could determine future control of the U.S. House. Hoyle’s opponent, Republican Monique DeSpain, told the Capital Chronicle she supported the Dobbs decision but said she wouldn’t support a nationwide abortion ban. DeSpain did not release a statement on the anniversary on Monday.

But Oregon Right to Life did. In the May primary, the organization was instrumental in unseating the only Republican in the Legislature who supports abortion rights. State Rep. Charlie Conrad, trounced in a one-issue campaign by Republican Darin Harbick, has switched to the Independent Party, as the Capital Chronicle revealed.

On Monday, Oregon Right to Life celebrated the enactment of abortion restrictions but said the group’s work is far from done.

“Abortion is still legal on-demand until the moment of birth here in Oregon, and politicians at the national level want to codify Roe and undercut the efforts of pro-life advocates at every turn,” the group said. “Oregon Right to Life is determined to continue working to ensure that the unborn are recognized as human beings with inherent dignity and value and afforded equal rights and protection under the law.”

Support for abortion rights remains strong in Oregon, where the Legislature has repeatedly passed bills to shore up them up. And polls nationally show that a majority of Americans do not favor abortion bans, even in states like Ohio, which has a Republican governor, secretary of state and attorney general and Republican-controlled Legislature. Nevertheless, last November voters there approved a constitutional amendment protecting reproductive and abortion rights.

Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Lynne Terry for questions: Follow Oregon Capital Chronicle on Facebook and X.

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