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'Let us respect each other': Gov. Mike DeWine holds statewide address after Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

DeWine called on Ohioans to have a peaceful, respectful debate about abortion following the Supreme Court's decision.

CEDARVILLE, Ohio — Hours after the United States Supreme Court announced a ruling that overturns the nearly 50-year legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urged Ohioans to "be kind, civil, and respect one another" in debating abortion.

DeWine held a statewide address on Friday amid protests already taking place throughout Ohio by abortion-rights advocates, plus a "celebratory reception" by Cleveland Right to Life.

The Supreme Court's decision is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. Currently, Ohio does not ban most abortions until the 22nd week of pregnancy. After 22 weeks, abortions are only permitted to save a patient’s life or when their health is seriously compromised.

"I fully understand that the Supreme Court’s decision today is deeply troubling to many of you. 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 that the life of a human being is at stake and that we have an obligation to protect that innocent life," DeWine said.

RELATED: What the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade means for Ohio

In his statement, DeWine also sought to find "common ground" for Ohioans when it comes to children and families. "We agree that no mother or child should go hungry or not have adequate housing. We agree that no child in this state should suffer the devastating effects of toxic lead-paint. And, we agree that all Ohio children have access to mental health services," he added.

DeWine stated that he plans to work with the Ohio General Assembly to come up with solutions 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 says the state will seek to increase adoption awareness and expand healthcare coverage for mothers and children.

"My fellow Ohioans, I ask you tonight to pull together. Let us have our debate about abortion. Let us do it civilly. Let us respect each other. And, let us concede that the other side is sincere in their beliefs," DeWine said at the end of his address.

In a radio interview with 700WLW's Bill Cunningham on Friday, DeWine 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. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a motion to dissolve the injunction against the law, which was later granted.

You can watch DeWine's address in the player below:

More coverage of Supreme Court decision:

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