Abortion proponents in Ohio submitted language for a radical new ballot initiative on Tuesday — one that would enshrine abortion into the red state’s constitution.
Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, the groups behind The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety amendment, said in a release that they hope to “place the issue on the 2023 statewide general election ballot.”
“Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” the amendment says, “including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.”
Under the amendment, the State “shall not” interfere with an individual’s “voluntary exercise of this right.” Activists like Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights executive director Lauren Beene claimed that “Ohioans are perilously close to losing access to safe, legal, comprehensive reproductive medical care,” calling the amendment “common sense.”
But pro-life advocates warned that the measure would radically expand abortion in the state and prevent Ohioans from protecting the unborn through their elected representatives.
Ohio Right to Life Director of Communications Elizabeth Marbach warned in a statement that “the language of this ballot initiative is extremely vague, making it even more dangerous than we originally believed it would be.”
“Make no mistake, the abortion lobby is attempting to impose on Ohioans late-term abortion, paid for by taxpayers,” she insisted. “They believe that they can rewrite our state Constitution to eliminate all protections for the unborn, including abortions after the point at which babies feel pain—endangering the health and wellbeing of both women and children.”
After the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, Ohio’s law banning abortions after six weeks went into effect, but a judge put the ban on hold in October 2022. Current Ohio law bans aborting babies who have been 22 weeks in the womb.
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a network of over 7,000 pro-life medical practitioners, also warned that “Ohio’s proposed constitutional amendment benefits the abortion industry, not women or their babies.”
“As physicians, we cannot support efforts to strip women (esp. minors & trafficking victims), pain-capable children in the womb, and others of protection against abortion’s harms,” the organization said.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser accused the abortion industry of trying to “force their radical, out-of-touch agenda on Ohioans at the expense of babies and moms.” According to Dannenfelser, the Ohio amendment would bring “painful late-term abortion to the state.”
“It would ultimately endanger women and children by eliminating basic health and safety standards, and even cancel the rights of parents who deserve to be informed and consent before their underage daughters would undergo such procedures,” she said. “This extreme proposal must be rejected.”
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