A sign urging a vote for a constitutional amendment seeking to protect abortion rights in Ohio is taped to the door of Licking County Democratic Party headquarters in Newark, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. Campaigning over the issue, which will be decided Tuesday, is expected to be a preview of abortion battles across the country in 2024. The measure, known as Issue 1, is the only abortion question on any state ballot this year.
The battleground on abortion shifted to the states last summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its Roe v. Wade decision, erasing federal abortion protections that had been in place for half a century. Since then, voters in six states — California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont — have either supported measures protecting abortion rights or rejected efforts aimed at eroding access.
The GOP-led Ohio Senate has used its website to spread misleading claims about the amendment even as Gov. Mike DeWine has made the rounds of TV stations pledging that his party will pass a reasonable alternative if voters defeat the measure. For the first time in his 46-year political career, DeWine now says he would support exceptions for rape and incest in any future abortion legislation if the measure fails. headtopics.com
The Ohio amendment would guarantee an individual’s right “to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions.” It expressly permits the state to regulate abortions after fetal viability, as determined by an attending physician, as long as any laws regulating the procedure after that point provide exceptions for the life and health of the woman.
“This is the most conservative state to date where we’re pushing for proactive state constitutional amendments,” said Carolyn Ehrlich, senior campaign strategist at the ACLU. Protect Women Ohio’s interest in persuading independent and politically moderate voters is about the math, since public support for some form of abortion rights has remained well over the 50% mark in the U.S. for years. AP VoteCast polling last year found that 59% of Ohio voters say abortion should generally be legal. headtopics.com