COLUMBUS, Ohio — After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, many in Ohio are asking what's next now that the nearly 50-year legal precedent guaranteeing the right of legal abortion in the U.S. has been struck down.
Speaking with 700WLW's Bill Cunningham in Cincinnati, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine reacted to the historic ruling. In doing so, DeWine -- a Republican -- confirmed that the state has already taken steps toward enacting the "heartbeat" bill, a six-week ban on abortions that was passed in 2019 but has yet to go into effect.
"I signed, shortly after I was elected, the heartbeat bill. This is a bill that the legislature sent me. It basically says in kind of plain language that abortion is not allowed once a heartbeat can be detected. There’s exceptions in there -- life of the mother, serious harm to the mother," DeWine said. "That bill did not go into effect, even though it was passed and signed by me, it did not go into effect because the federal courts, based on Roe v. Wade, ruled that there would be a stay and it would not go into effect.
"Just a few minutes ago, the Attorney General of Ohio Dave Yost went into court and asked that the stay be lifted. So that is where that stands now. One would think that the federal court would lift that stay, but there could be additional litigation as well. Once that stay is lifted, it will be the health department’s responsibility to choose to follow up on that and we are prepared to do that. So that’s really where we are at this point in Ohio.”
While DeWine acknowledged that the subject of abortions is an emotional one and said that he welcomed spirited debate, he also encouraged Ohioans to remain civil. He also said that he believes that there is common ground to be found on both sides of the debate, pointing to his efforts to make Ohio "the most pro-family, most pro-children state in the union."
As for other topics relating to Friday's ruling, DeWine said that he wasn't sure how the heartbeat bill would apply to abortion pills, and called speculation that the Supreme Court would next target condoms or birth control pills "absurd." The 75-year-old former Senator also said that he doesn't believe that same-sex marriage will be overturned by the Supreme Court.
But when it comes to the subject of Friday's ruling, DeWine made it clear that he agreed with the court's stance. Asked what his message would be to those upset with the ruling, the Governor reiterated his belief in the ability of those who disagree to do so in a civil manner.
"We have to let the court process play out, I think the political process is going to play out in all 50 states. This is what we do in this country. We should not be afraid of democracy. We should not be afraid of the people being able to make decisions," he said. "But I’ll go back to what I said in the beginning: let’s do it in a civil way, let’s respect one another. These are good people on both sides of this issue. We shouldn’t be questioning someone’s motives. But the other thing that I think is that instead of being contentious, let’s find places that we can work together."