With the 6-3 ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the highest court in the nation determined that a person’s right to have an abortion is up to the states, and therefore not protected nationally.
Oregon, which has the fewest abortion restrictions in the country, will not see any legal impact from the ruling. However, it could see an increase in abortions sought by non-residents, such as those who come into Oregon from the Idaho border.
New abortion legislation in Idaho is slated to take effect 30 days from Friday, as the Supreme Court’s decision triggered it. The law will make it a felony to perform an abortion, or attempt to perform one, in that state. Idaho will only allow abortions if a pregnant person’s life needs saving or the pregnancy was from rape or incest, and then only if the person previously reported the rape or incest to law enforcement and can provide a report from a doctor.
The Supreme Court ruling spurred immediate reaction from Oregonians, including several who currently hold or are seeking elected office.
Oregon’s U.S. senators, both Democrats, tweeted their disagreement over the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision. Sen. Ron Wyden called the justices who ruled in the majority “radical,” while Sen. Jeff Merkley labeled them “extremist.” In a recent poll, most Americans identified themselves as “pro-choice.”
This is a heartbreaking day for America. Today’s radical decision to overturn Roe v. Wade tosses out a half century of legal precedent, curtails the fundamental rights of women, and jeopardizes the health and safety of millions of people across the country. https://t.co/CsomJGKTaQ— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) June 24, 2022
Six justices destroyed people's right to make their own health care decisions. It’s disturbing, putting an overbearing government in the exam room. This attack on our freedom is a special delivery from extremist justices and the MAGA politicians and pundits cheering them on.— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) June 24, 2022
U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, the only woman who represents Oregon in Congress, wrote the decision is “infuriating, heartbreaking, and dangerous.”
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn abortion rights is infuriating, heartbreaking, and dangerous.— Suzanne Bonamici (@RepBonamici) June 24, 2022
U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, the only Republican who represents Oregon in Congress, wrote of the ruling that it was “a momentous decision. Every human life is sacred.”
Democratic Congressional candidates commented on the decision, while using it as an opportunity to fundraise. Jaime McLeod-Skinner, who unseated longtime U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, warned “low-income, rural, women of color, and LGBTQ+ Americans will face the worst consequences of this decision,” and urged people to support her so she could fight to codify access to abortion care into federal law.
Democratic state Rep. Andrea Salinas, who is running for the state’s newly created 6th Congressional District, said the decision “will not result in fewer abortions,” instead it will just mean “access to a safe, legal abortion will disappear in far too many places.”
Related: Medication abortions are easy to access in Oregon, but how do they work?
House Speaker Dan Rayfield made it clear Democratic lawmakers in Oregon will be working to further improve abortion access in the state in upcoming legislative sessions. Rayfield, D-Corvallis, said it was an “incredibly dark day in American history.” The decision, he said, “will harm millions of people, most specifically people of color and low-income individuals, and worsen existing inequality.”
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement, “Abortion is health care, and no matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon doesn’t turn away anyone seeking health care. Period. Let me be clear: You cannot ban abortion, you can only ban safe abortions — and this disgraceful Supreme Court decision will undoubtedly put many people’s lives at risk, in addition to stripping away a constitutional right that disproportionately affects women and has been settled law for most of our lifetimes.”
In 2017, Brown signed a law codifying reproductive health services and the right to an abortion into state law. This year, the state Legislature approved $15 million to be spent on helping community-based organizations expand access to abortion across the state.
In a joint statement issued Friday, Brown and the Democratic governors of California and Washington announced a coordinated effort to strengthen legal protections for abortion providers and patients who travel to the West Coast from states where the practice is banned.
Related: West Coast governors promise to defend abortion rights
Three major candidates are running for Oregon governor, all of whom are women: Democratic nominee Tina Kotek, Republican nominee Christine Drazan and unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson. Each took to Twitter to release reaction statements.
I’m furious about what the conservative justices have done. Abortion is health care, I will keep fighting to ensure that it’s protected.— Tina Kotek (@TinaKotek) June 24, 2022
But, Oregonians, please know this: abortion access is protected here. I made sure of that. Now, let’s make sure that that doesn’t change. pic.twitter.com/1lId83PduC
Life wins! My statement regarding today’s historic ruling at the U.S Supreme Court: https://t.co/XGrOMFWivM #orpol pic.twitter.com/26lMJws6ET— Christine Drazan (@ChristineDrazan) June 24, 2022
I am pro-choice. This is a bedrock issue for me, and frankly, for Oregon. A fundamental right. As Oregon’s independent governor, I will always defend and protect a woman’s right to choose.— Betsy Johnson (@senbetsyjohnson) June 24, 2022
OPB reporters Amelia Templeton and Lauren Dake contributed to this story.
This is a developing story and may be updated.