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Voters in Ohio uphold the right to an abortion sixteen months after the US Supreme Court’s Roe decision…

At a watch party in Columbus on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, supporters of Ohio Issue 1, the abortion rights constitutional amendment, applauded during victory remarks.

Ohio’s COLUMBUS After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, Ohio voters on Tuesday approved a state constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to an abortion, making the state the sixth to support reproductive rights.

Up until fetal viability, or roughly 22 to 24 weeks, the amendment preserves people’s choices on abortion, pregnancy, contraception, miscarriage care, and fertility treatment.

The General Assembly would then have the authority to control reproductive choices. However, if a woman’s doctor determines that an abortion is necessary to preserve her life or health, she may still be permitted to have one after viability.

Just after 9 p.m. on Tuesday, the Associated Press declared the election in favor of the “yes” side, with Issue 1 receiving roughly 58% of the vote.

The amendment will go into effect 30 days after the election, but it may take years for the dozens of Ohio laws that currently restrict abortion to feel the actual effects of this amendment. Which statutes are in contradiction with the new language in the state constitution will ultimately be determined by the courts.

Ohioans of all political hues, according to Nancy Kramer, co-chair of Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, the campaign supporting the amendment, don’t want the government deciding what their health care options are.

She said this before the Yes campaign’s victory, but before the election results appeared encouraging.

When the Supreme Court delivered the Dobbs decision (overturning Roe v. Wade), they said they were sending the issue back to the states, Kramer said. Today, the state of Ohio will have spoken.

 

Tuesday ends bitter campaigning over the abortion rights amendment that began when the no side, Protect Women Ohio, began airing ads in March.

The campaigns have collectively spent at least $38 million, plus more in untraceable dark money, paying for campaign ads and materials.

 

hio Physicians for Reproductive Rights

Following CNN’s declaration of the result in favor of the “yes” side, Drs. Marcela Azevedo and Lauren Beene, co-founders of Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, one of the numerous organizations supporting the abortion rights amendment, share a tearful embrace.(From Cleveland.com, Laura Hancock)

The goal of the August $18 million special election called by Republican leaders in the General Assembly was to prevent the passage of the abortion rights amendment by mandating that any subsequent constitutional amendments receive a supermajority of votes cast.
That was defeated, meaning that a simple majority—50% plus one vote—was all that was needed for Ohio’s abortion rights amendment to pass.

Ohio’s six-week “heartbeat” abortion restriction is probably going to be declared unconstitutional as the amendment permits abortions up until viability.

The law was in effect for 82 days last summer until a judge put it on an indefinite hold while its overall constitutionality was litigated in his courtroom.

A 24-hour waiting period and the requirement that abortion clinics have transfer agreements with private hospitals within 30 miles of the clinic are just two examples of the other abortion bans that the legislature has passed since the 1980s. These issues will probably be decided by the courts.

A woman’s health in accordance with widely accepted and evidence-based standards of care” is to be advanced by a restriction, and courts will determine whether or not each ban is constitutional by evaluating which is the least restrictive way to impose a ban.

The outcome was a win for progressives who have long believed that Ohioans support their policies, as well as a broadside against Republican leaders who have pushed ever more restrictive abortion laws.

Polling has generally shown that about 58% of Ohioans support abortion rights on some level. The proposed amendment was portrayed as being too radical by the opposition campaign, which included Gov. Mike DeWine, but Ohioans seemed to think otherwise.

Following some early disagreements among pro-choice organizations regarding whether to seek the amendment in 2023 or 2024, the groups came together in the national spotlight to secure the year’s most historic electoral victory.

Ohio was the latest domino to fall against anti-abortion forces since realizing their long-held goal of toppling Roe v. Wade. The decision in June 2022 returned the question of abortion regulation to the states, where abortion-rights backers have prevailed now on seven straight ballots.

In 2024, when elections for president and both chambers of Congress are scheduled, a wave of additional state ballot initiatives pertaining to abortion rights are anticipated nationwide.

There is no denying that this is a bad day for the Buckeye State. After a long campaign season, Ohioans voted to enshrine murder into our state’s guiding document, said Lizzie Marbach, an anti-abortion activist who was at odds with the campaign against Issue 1. I hope these outcomes serve as a warning to pro-life groups who declined to confront this problem head-on.

Their cowardice during this pivotal moment should not be forgotten moving forward.

The fight, however, is not over. We will keep fighting to ensure that preborn people receive equal legal protection under the US Constitution, based on the 14th Amendment.

Six other states had already decided on abortion rights last year, and a few more are anticipated to be on the ballot in 2024. Ohio, with its amendment, gained national attention on Tuesday as the lone state debating abortion rights. President Joe Biden called the amendment’s passage a win for democracy and called on Congress to reinstate the Roe standard as a federal law.

In Ohio, voters protected access to reproductive health in their state constitution. Ohioans and voters across the country rejected attempts by MAGA Republican elected officials to impose extreme abortion bans that put the health and lives of women in jeopardy, force women to travel hundreds of miles for care, and threaten to criminalize doctors and nurses for providing the health care that their patients need and that they are trained to provide.

Biden stated in a statement made public on Tuesday night that this radical and dangerous agenda is out of step with the great majority of Americans.

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