U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan railed against a federal abortion ban introduced in the U.S. Senate this week, accusing "extremists" of trying to take advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The bill from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham would ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest or when the pregnant person's health is at risk. The proposal is unlikely to get a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but Graham said it would give Republicans fodder for their message on abortion ahead of the November midterms.
Ryan is running against Republican J.D. Vance for the Ohio Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Rob Portman. Ryan's campaign sent out a fundraising email on Tuesday that claimed Graham's bill is "just a stepping stone" to a total abortion ban.
“Extremists in the Senate are capitalizing on the disastrous Dobbs decision to take away women’s reproductive freedom and codify the biggest act of government overreach of our lifetime," Ryan said. "This latest attack on women’s freedom is exactly what J.D. Vance wanted, and exactly why Ohioans won’t let him anywhere near the Senate."
Vance's campaign did not respond to a request for comment, and the "Hillbilly Elegy" author has so far been quiet on Graham's proposal. Vance doesn't support exceptions for cases of rape or incest and said last year that children shouldn't be punished for "inconvenient" circumstances around their birth.
He's offered mixed messages on whether he would support a federal abortion ban. In a July "Meet the Press" appearance, he said states should be left to "figure this out for now" and signaled support for Ohio's six-week abortion ban. Months prior, he said during a podcast interview that he would "like abortion to be illegal nationally," although he argued a federal ban is unlikely in the current political climate.
"Let's say Roe v. Wade is overruled," he said in the January interview. "Ohio bans abortion in 2022 − let's say 2024. Then every day, George Soros sends a 747 to Columbus to load up disproportionately Black women to get them to go have abortions in California. Of course, the left will celebrate this as a victory for diversity...If that happens, do you need some federal response to prevent it from happening because it's really creepy? I'm pretty sympathetic to that, actually. Hopefully we get to a point where Ohio bans abortion and California and the Soroses of the world respect it."
Vance is scheduled to headline a Summit County Republican Party dinner with Graham next month.
Portman, Brown oppose federal abortion ban
Graham's legislation came just days before a Hamilton County judge blocked Ohio's six-week ban for two weeks. A USA TODAY Network Ohio/Suffolk University poll released Thursday found 68% of likely Ohio voters oppose that policy, and 84% supported exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
Some Republicans balked at Graham's decision to introduce the ban in the midst of a key election cycle. After the court overturned Roe, many GOP leaders argued abortion policy should be left up to states and worked to shift voters' focus back to the economy. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that it should remain a state issue.
“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."
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown echoed Ryan's comments on the legislation.
“Americans are united on this – they don’t want politicians and the government controlling their personal medical decisions," he said. "Politicians are pushing for more and more government interference in women’s personal lives, and voters of all backgrounds, with all kinds of political views, will continue to fight back."
Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Ohio Senate race: Tim Ryan blasts Lindsey Graham abortion ban