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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Portman, 10 Ohio Congressmen Sign Court Brief In Key Abortion Case

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) spoke at an Ohio Right to Life rally at the Statehouse in January 2016. [Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau]
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) spoke at an Ohio Right to Life rally at the Statehouse in January 2016.

Ohio’s Republican Senator and most of its Republican Congressional delegation have signed onto a court document that could lead to the overturning of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion.

Ten Ohio Congressmen are among the 168 House members to also sign on – only northeast Ohio’s Dave Joyce and central Ohio’s Steve Stivers didn’t.

Sen. Rob Portman is among 39 Republican Senators to sign a friend of the court brief supporting Louisiana’s lawrequiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. That law will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in March.

Portman has long been an advocate against abortion. Among many other times, he talked about it on the Senate floor in 2015, saying, "I'm proud of my record with regard to supporting the sanctity of life. I'm proud of my 100% pro-life voting record."

The case names Rebekah Gee, the Louisiana Department of Health secretary and daughter of former Ohio State University president Gordon Gee, who is the president of West Virginia University.

In 2016, the Court heard a similar case from Texas, and struck down provisions requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that abortions can only be performed in ambulatory surgical centers.  But the composition of the court has changed since then. Anti-abortion activists have said they think the addition of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh will change the Court's position on abortion.

Ohio does not have a law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges with nearby hospitals. But advocates think the outcome of the case could be critical.

A Quinnipiac poll last summershowed 61 percent of Ohio voters support the 1973 Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion. 

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