In a historic decision, Ohio voters have approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing access to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care. Now, abortion in the state will be legal at every stage of pregnancy, even up to birth.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio voters pass a constitutional amendment protecting access to abortion, extending statewide wins for abortion rights.
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) November 8, 2023
This victory for abortion rights supporters comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last year.
Ohio now joins the ranks of seven states where voters have chosen to safeguard abortion access following the landmark ruling. Notably, Ohio was the sole state this year to address a statewide abortion rights question.
The initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution garnered support from prominent organizations, including the Ohio Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, the ACLU of Ohio and the Ohio Women’s Alliance.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris released statements expressing their support for the amendment’s victory, claiming that attempts to ban or severely restrict abortion represent a minority viewpoint across the nation. Other left-wing organizations are also celebrating the win.
However, not all Ohioans welcomed the constitutional amendment, with prominent Republicans, such as Gov. Mike DeWine and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), voicing their opposition and labeling the measure as extreme. Vance, for instance, urged voters to reject Issue 1, asserting that it wouldn’t criminalize miscarriages and encouraged people to think for themselves.
“Today is Election Day in Ohio. Vote NO on Issue 1! There’s been a lot of lies out there from the Yes campaign. People do in fact abort healthy late-term pregnancies. Issue 1 doesn’t make it illegal to have a miscarriage. Think for yourself and vote no!” he posted ahead of the vote on Tuesday.
Pro-life advocates argue that the amendment effectively legalizes abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
In the aftermath of the vote, Protect Women Ohio expressed deep concern, stating, “Our hearts are broken tonight not because we lost an election, but because Ohio families, women, and children will bear the brunt of this vote.”
The organization highlighted the experiences of Michigan, which passed a similar amendment last year, only to witness subsequent legislative changes that rolled back protections for parental rights, late-term abortion, and women’s health and safety standards.
Jor-El Godsey, the president of the pro-life organization Heartbeat International, also weighed in on the issue, lamenting the loss of common-sense protections for women, parents, and babies, emphasizing the importance of pregnancy help in supporting women’s choices.
As Issue 1 alters the state constitution and supersedes laws passed by the state legislature, it presents a substantial challenge for those seeking to reverse it, as it can only be overturned by another ballot measure.