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Sen. Rob Portman opposes proposed national abortion ban

Rob Portman
Posted at 11:07 AM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 11:07:03-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — U.S. Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, opposes the national 15-week abortion ban proposed in Congress.

On Thursday, the Republican told News 5 that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's legislation will not have his support going forward.

“Abortion is a very sensitive and emotional issue with strong feelings on both sides and therefore should be decided by the elected representatives of the people," Portman said. "Through its Dobbs ruling, the Supreme Court made this clear. I believe this was the right ruling and now our elected leaders in the states will make the decisions on this issue." 

Sen. Mitch McConnell, minority leader and Kentucky Republican, agrees with Portman's sentiment, according to the New York Times.

The anti-abortion legislation quickly split the GOP, many of whom are seemingly trying to downplay their support for abortion restrictions due to the backlash and increase in voter registration. But it's not just Republicans in the Senate. For example, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine scrubbed his campaign website free of anything revolving around abortion.

Pro-choice Ohioans are cheering after a state judge temporarily blocked Ohio's ban on virtually all abortions Wednesday.

Democratic Hamilton County Judge Christian Jenkins' decision to grant a 14-day restraining order against the law came as part of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Ohio on behalf of abortion providers in the state. The clinics argue the law violates protections in the state Constitution guaranteeing individual liberty and equal protection.

The decision means abortions through 20 weeks' gestation, approximately 22 weeks after the last menstrual period, can continue for now, in keeping with state law in place before the ban.

RELATED: Judge temporarily blocks Ohio law banning most abortions after six weeks

"I think most Americans agree that human life is precious and should be protected wherever possible," Portman added. "To that end, we should do more to work together in a bipartisan manner to promote adoption, reduce the number of abortions, and provide support for pregnant women in difficult circumstances.”

Depending on how Jenkins rules in the coming weeks, a national abortion ban at 15 weeks wouldn't impact Ohio — since the 6-week abortion ban that took effect after Dobbs was overturned is more strict. However, a "nay" vote from Portman could protect other states close to Ohio from being restricted.

If Jenkins continues to rule in favor of the abortion clinics and the ACLU, then the national ban could impact Ohio, if passed.

The likelihood of this passing is slim, since Sen. Chuck Schumer, majority leader and New York Democrat, would not bring this to the floor. But, it does beg the question of why this was proposed. Some analysts say it could be Graham trying to unite his base or for it to give some hope for his pro-life constituents.

It could also be a tactic to have other Republicans deny it, trying to change the narrative that Republicans believe in national oversight and making them look "reasonable" to moderate voters, one analyst told News 5.

Follow WEWS statehouse reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.