Ohio is in a precedent-setting fight for LIFE. Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and other abortion extremists used the state’s ballot initiative process to bring an abortion amendment to vote. The amendment – Issue 1 – would enshrine abortion and other “reproductive decisions” in the Ohio Constitution.
“Reproductive freedom” amendments like this are the latest tactic of abortion extremists to circumvent state laws regulating abortion. The Ohio Amendment is the first such ballot measure in a state that has enacted strong pro-life protections – but it won’t be the last. Similar efforts are underway in every state that has an initiative process, including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
If passed, Issue 1 will eliminate virtually all constraints on abortion prior to viability, which occurs at approximately 24 to 26 weeks’ gestation. Babies at this age are over 14 inches long and fully developed. While Issue 1 allows for restrictions on abortion after viability, the Amendment includes a gaping exception for the health of the mother. This is not limited to physical health, but can encompass mental, emotional, social, financial, familial, and even educational factors. In short, Issue 1 allows for abortion until birth in a wide range of circumstances.
According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Issue 1 has devastating implications for essential protections in Ohio and would not just “restore Roe,” but goes much further. For example, Issue 1 expressly states that the State can only regulate abortion to advance the mother’s health. Any law enacted to protect “long-recognized interests in fetal life or in medical ethics” would be invalid.
Ohio currently prohibits abortions motivated solely because of a Down syndrome diagnosis. This law would be rendered invalid under Issue 1. Gruesome dismemberment abortions and partial birth abortions that can result in babies born alive during abortion are unlawful in Ohio – but will be permitted if Issue 1 passes. Moreover, common sense informed-consent laws that require abortionists to provide women with information about the procedure and its risks would be challenged and likely struck down.
The rights created by Issue 1 are not limited to adults but can also be asserted by minor children – even against their parents. The language of the Amendment is broad enough to include a myriad of so-called “reproductive decisions,” including the right to sex change surgery and hormones.
So far, polling shows that the race is very close. Planned Parenthood and its abortion allies are directing advertising to moderate voters, telling them a yes vote keeps the government out of their personal decisions. This is a grotesque misstatement. It’s like supporting an initiative that eradicates laws against child abuse on the grounds that the government should not be involved in personal family choices.
Life Legal strongly urges Ohioans to vote NO on Issue 1. We have billboards up in several cities letting people know how extreme the amendment is. These billboards are getting 2,783,879 views every week. Last week, we launched a strategic digital marketing campaign to provide people – especially moderates – with factual information about Issue 1. Mary Rose Short, our Director of Outreach for California Right to Life*, is currently in Ohio leading on the ground efforts to educate voters. She and her team have been successful in changing people’s mind about Issue 1 once they know what the amendment actually does.
But we need your help! If you live in Ohio, you can help with door-knocking to ensure that voters know the truth about the abortion amendment. If you don’t live in Ohio, you can help by making calls (phone banking).
*California Right to Life is an initiative of Life Legal that instructs the public, particularly millennials and younger, regarding human embryology, pre-natal life, and the sanctity and intrinsic value of each human life. California Right to Life has educated tens of thousands of Californians and saved countless lives in danger of being aborted.