A Democratic candidate running for U.S. Senate in Ohio made his position on abortion clear Monday when he said he would only approve U.S. Supreme Court nominees who support abortion, if elected.
Ted Strickland, a Democrat running for pro-life U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s seat, originally took a moderate position when a reporter from Cleveland.com asked him how he would vote on U.S. Supreme Court nominees who are pro-life, according to the news outlet.
“As far as I’m concerned, that would be a nominee that I would find it difficult to vote for,” Strickland said. “But I would try to consider the full range of qualifications that a nominee would bring to that nomination.”
But just a few minutes after the interview, the news outlet reported receiving an email from Strickland’s campaign spokesman David Bergstein saying that the candidate “would not support a nominee who opposes a woman’s right to choice.” Strickland later reiterated the position.
Strickland, a past governor of Ohio, has a long pro-abortion record dating back to his time in Congress. He faced pro-life criticism after he failed to provide support for a state law saying abortion centers could no longer put women’s health at risk by not properly using the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug. In 2010, he also appointed a pro-abortion judge to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Strickland’s response came just a few days after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly in Texas, leaving his seat on the bench open. The president of the United States is charged with appointing justices to the high court, but the U.S. Senate must approve the nominees.
Many pro-life groups mourned Scalia’s death over the weekend, calling him a pro-life hero for consistently rejecting the flawed reasoning of Roe v. Wade. In numerous interviews and speeches, Scalia called Roe bad case law and said he would vote to overturn it if a case reached his desk.
Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life, told LifeNews that the U.S. needs a Supreme Court justice like Scalia who will protect the Constitutional right to life for every human being.
“Ted Strickland’s insistence on appointing activist pro-abortion judges is a reminder of the importance of voting pro-life, and specifically re-electing pro-life Senator Rob Portman,” Krider said. “We need a Justice who honors the Originalist tradition of Justice Scalia. We need a Justice who refuses to fabricate ‘rights’ that infringe on the most basic human right, the right to life.”
Scalia’s unexpected death happened just as the high court is about to hear an important abortion case out of Texas. In Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the high court will consider whether Texas House Bill 2 creates an “undue burden” for women to get abortions by requiring that abortion facilities meet certain health and safety standards. The law has been credited with saving the lives of more than 10,000 unborn children.
Scalia was one of four consistently pro-life justices on the Supreme Court. With Scalia gone, the outcome of the court’s decision on the Texas case remains even more uncertain. Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are expected to uphold the law, while Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Steven Breyer will likely overturn it. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s position is uncertain.
On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will not vote on an Obama nominee to the court but will wait until a new president takes office next spring, LifeNews reported.