FEATURED PHOTO: REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER GROSS R-45TH DISTRICT
NewsBreak.com, By Sean DeLancy-WCPO 9 CINCINNATI, Posted November 20th 2023
A few dozen constituents of Republican Rep. Jennifer Gross attended her first town hall since the passage of Issue 1’s protections of reproductive care in Ohio’s constitution.
The meeting became contentious when Gross addressed her plan to undermine the state’s court’s ability to throw out existing abortion bans or laws on reproductive rights as announced in a press release Friday.
West Chester voter Emily Jackson became passionate when Gross asked her whether she voted to “rip baby’s arms off.”
“I believe it is between a woman and her doctor,” Jackson said before addressing others in the room. “I don’t think it’s for you or you or you to make that determination. Emily Jackson, for the camera, I voted yes.”
Gross said she worried about “outside influence” in the passage of Issue 1 due to millions in spending from out of state.
The representative also said she wasn’t sure voters knew what they were voting for.
In response, Gross is planning to introduce a bill to the Ohio House of Representatives that would remove any court’s ability to throw out existing law, like Ohio’s six-week abortion ban, and consolidate power to review reproduction-related law in the Ohio Legislature.
“My bill, which is coming out, is jurisdictional prudence. We’re intending to remove jurisdiction from the probate court,” she said.
The plan didn’t sit well with Jackson as she questioned the representative.
“You’re ignoring the voice,” Jackson said of November’s vote.
“No, no, the voice is there,” Gross responded.
“Right, but you’re ignoring the voice,” Jackson shot back. “The voice is there. We spoke.”
Issue 1 passed by a wide margin of 57% to 43%.
University of Cincinnati Political Science Professor David Niven called the draft legislation proposed by Gross a “stunt.”
“Fundamentally, this is a disrespect for the voters of Ohio who spoke very forcefully,” Niven said.
Niven said because Issue 1 enshrined abortion protections and reproductive rights similar to those enshrined nationally before the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, it would take similar action to reverse the effects.
“The only way that you could unring the bell and let the legislature become a court on this issue would be to make this a constitutional amendment,” Niven said. “Bring it to the voters, and ask the voters, ‘You don’t agree with us on issues, we don’t agree with you. We’d like you to give us full power and authority over every question that comes up.'”
Gross declined an interview to explain her position beyond what she said to the crowd at her town hall.
WCPO reached out to Gov. Mike DeWine’s office to see if he would sign something similar to the proposed legislation and hadn’t heard back.