Breaking News Ohio Issue 1 Pass Closer Look Abortion Rights
Ohio Issue 1 Passes by Voters AmendmentOhio Issue 1 Passes by Voters Amendment

Ohio Issue 1 Passes: Reproductive Rights Enshrined

According to Ohio Issue 1, the voters of Ohio decided on Tuesday to enshrine the right to access abortion and other reproductive rights in the state’s constitution. In this key swing state that twice supported former President Donald Trump, residents made it clear that they prefer doctors, not politicians, to make their reproductive decisions. According to non-official election results, Ohio Issue 1 passed with 56-44% of the vote, with around 97% of precincts reporting. The Associated Press announced the results of the race at approximately 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Abortion is healthcare,” said Laren Bluewitt, co-chair of Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights. “Today, Ohioans made it clear that abortion is a winning issue, and when we work together, we can achieve anything.”

Ohio’s Reproductive Rights Victory

Ohio joins a growing list of states that have approved constitutional amendments enshrining abortion rights after local lawmakers, judges, and voters have rolled back restrictions on abortion access. The win in Ohio provides a roadmap for reproductive rights advocates to focus on 2024 races in states like Florida and Arizona.

The path to victory was not easy, as Ohio Republicans and abortion opponents threw up roadblocks to try to stop Ohio Issue 1. Notably, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and several state lawmakers led an effort to amend Ohio’s constitution to make it more difficult to amend. Progressive initiatives like Issue 1 were a driving force behind the costly, nationally watched 2022 elections, where voters overwhelmingly rejected that notion.

The Ohio Issue 1 Debate

Republicans tried to force supporters to collect more signatures, end the initiative, and craft ballot language that Ohio Issue 1 backers say was unfair and inaccurate. However, Issue 1 supporters persisted. They outraised Republicans, 2-1, through a network of progressive groups. They also focused on the fact that the policy on reproductive rights and other healthcare issues should be made by doctors who have been trained to provide care and are committed to providing necessary care to their patients.

Ohio Issue 1 on AbortionDebate
Ohio Issue 1 on AbortionDebate

During the campaign, opponents of Ohio Issue 1 argued that a constitutional amendment is too far-reaching and would impact everything from abortion to transgender medical care to end-of-life decisions for parents of minors. “Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, Issue 1 is not right for Ohio,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said in an ad opposing the reproductive rights measures. DeWine appeared prominently on national television and behind the scenes to work on the “No” campaign.

Legal Battle Over Ohio’s Abortion Laws

Abortion opponents successfully pushed through the 2019 law, which Republican lawmakers tried to defend with the support of DeWine, that is currently blocked by a Democratic judge. However, Ohio Issue 1 backers have promised to challenge the laws on abortion access and other reproductive rights restrictions. These include the prohibition on abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks, and limits on dilation and evacuation abortions, a common second-trimester procedure.

The abortion rights lawyers are taking the case to the courts to overturn the laws, not the Ohio Statehouse, because the Republican-controlled legislature in Ohio has shown no interest in expanding access to abortion.

Legal Struggle Against Ohio's Abortion Regulations
Legal Struggle Against Ohio’s Abortion Regulations

Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens promised to step back from pushing new constitutional amendments on Tuesday night, saying, “The legislature has many paths that we will explore to continue the protection of innocent life. The conversation doesn’t conclude here.”

What’s next? 

Ohio Issue 1 will go into effect 30 days after the election. After that, lawyers will file lawsuits to repeal the restrictions on abortion access and the new constitutional amendments. The most significant restrictions include limitations on doctors who perform abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat, which is usually around six weeks. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has been trying to overturn the law, known as the “Heartbeat Bill.” Since the Ohio Supreme Court has an active case in front of them, it could be resolved there.

Other restrictions on abortion access that could be repealed include:

  • Bans on abortion after a Down syndrome diagnosis in the fetus.
  • Limits on dilation and evacuation abortions, a common second-trimester procedure.
  • Waiting periods of 24 hours after a patient’s initial appointment.
  • A requirement for clinics to have local, private hospitals as partners or obtain a variance, known as a transfer agreement.

Abortion rights attorneys will take the issue to the courts to overturn these laws, not the Ohio Statehouse, as the Republican-controlled legislature in Ohio has shown no interest in expanding access to abortion.

FAQs

What did Ohioans vote on during the recent election?

Ohioans voted to enshrine the right to access abortion and other reproductive rights in the state’s constitution.

What was the outcome of the vote on Ohio Issue 1 in Ohio?

Ohio Issue 1 passed with 56-44% of the vote, with approximately 97% of precincts reporting.

Why did Ohio Issue 1 supporters argue that doctors should be the ones making decisions on reproductive rights?

 Supporters of Ohio Issue 1 argued that doctors, who are trained to provide care and prioritize patients’ healthcare needs, should make decisions regarding reproductive rights, rather than politicians.

What challenges did Ohio Issue 1 supporters face during the campaign?

Ohio Issue 1 supporters faced challenges such as efforts by Ohio Republicans and abortion opponents to stop the initiative, including attempts to collect more signatures and craft what they considered unfair and inaccurate ballot language.

What is the plan for the future after the passage of Ohio Issue 1?

Ohio Issue 1 will go into effect 30 days after the election, and lawyers plan to file lawsuits to repeal restrictions on abortion access and other reproductive rights restrictions, including limitations on doctors performing abortions after detecting a fetal heartbeat and other regulations. The legal battle will be taken to the courts as the Ohio Statehouse has shown no interest in expanding access to abortion.

Conclusion

Ohio Issue 1’s passage solidifies reproductive rights in Ohio’s constitution, reflecting a preference for medical expertise over politics. This win sets a precedent for reproductive rights advocacy in other states. Despite challenges, supporters persevered, emphasizing healthcare decisions should be in the hands of medical professionals. This milestone also signals future legal challenges to existing restrictions and a continued conversation on reproductive rights.

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