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On anniversary of Dobbs decision, Oregon congressional candidates chime in on abortion

Candidates for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District chimed in on one of the top issues this election year – abortion – on Monday, the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Campaign images of Republican U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, left, and Democrat Janelle Bynum, candidates in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District race in November 2024.

Campaign images of Republican U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, left, and Democrat Janelle Bynum, candidates in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District race in November 2024.

Courtesy of the campaigns / OPB

Oregon’s 5th Congressional District is a swing district, and the winner in the race between the Republican incumbent and her Democratic challenger could decide which party controls Congress. That makes national issues like abortion key even in states like Oregon, where it is legal.

Republican U.S. Rep Lori Chavez-DeRemer applauded the 2022 Supreme Court ruling as supporting state’s rights but said she would oppose federal policies that change reproductive health care access for women in Oregon, including a national ban. Democratic state Rep. Janelle Bynum vowed to protect abortion access and criticized her opponent as having shifted her stance.

On Monday, Chavez-DeRemer acknowledged Oregonians’ support for reproductive health rights. In a statement, she said she’s “a strong advocate for protecting health care for women across the 5th District.” She touted her bipartisan voting record.

“I haven’t hesitated to stand up to members of my own party on these issues – even killing a bill last year that would have restricted access to mifepristone nationwide,” she said. “I’m also proud to lead bipartisan legislation to protect and expand IVF accessibility and affordability, something I’ve been working on since last year and will officially introduce this week.”

Bynum, meanwhile, criticized the congresswoman’s record, saying she has “flip-flopped” to “mislead voters on her anti-choice agenda.”

“On this second anniversary of Dobbs being thrown out, we are committed to throwing anti-abortion extremist Lori Chavez-DeRemer out of Congress and ensure that our fundamental freedoms are protected.”

Bynum’s statements align with a larger election-year push by Democrats to portray Republicans and President Donald Trump as being responsible for ending the constitutional right to an abortion.

Most notably, Democrats are taking aim at five swing-district Republicans who applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, including Chavez-DeRemer, as reported by Axios.

“Lori Chavez-DeRemer can’t hide the reality of her anti-choice extremism,” said a statement from Dan Gottlieb, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, U.S. House Democrats’ national campaign arm. “Oregonians know Chavez-DeRemer celebrated as women across the country had their reproductive freedom ripped away, and voters will hold her accountable for her continued extremism this November.”

Grayson Dempsey is the director of public affairs for the Lilith Clinic, an independent abortion clinic with an office in Portland. In her view, voters are growing increasingly concerned about the rollback of abortion rights in several states, prompting people to travel for thousands of miles to receive health care, sometimes at risk of prosecution or their personal health.

“I think people are fired up,” she said.

Meanwhile, she said, Republicans like former President Donald Trump — who told reporters he wouldn’t sign a federal abortion ban — are trying to appear moderate on abortion rights to appeal to a larger voting bloc.

“They know that this isn’t popular,” she said. “They know that people are mad.”

Oregon’s 5th Congressional District is one of 16 led by Republicans in areas President Joe Biden won in 2020. Chavez-DeRemer won in 2022 by two percentage points.

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