Yahoo..com, By Kate Murphy-PRODUCER Y-NEWS, Posted November 8th 2023
In a win for pro-abortion-rights advocates, Ohioans voted to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution on Tuesday.
Voters in the Buckeye State approveda ballot measure known as Issue 1, which asked voters whether the state’s constitution should be amended to establish “an individual right to one’s own reproductive medical treatment, included but not limited to abortion.” The amendment, which goes into effect 30 days from now, protects abortion access up to the point of fetal viability. Abortions would only be allowed after that point to protect the life of the mother.
The Associated Press called the election, declaring that Ohioans approved the measure, exceeding the required 50% simple majority of support needed to pass.
Republicans in the state legislature had attempted to raise the simple majority threshold to 60% with a special election back in August, but abortion rights groups cleared that hurdle, in yet another win, after Ohioans voted to keep the simple majority requirement in tact.
Ohio, a Republican-leaning state which Donald Trump won in 2020, joins several other red states where voters have consistently turned up at the polls to support expanding abortion access after Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that recognized a constitutional right to an abortion, was overturned in June 2022.
Ohio was the only state to directly vote on abortion this year where Republican leaders in the state had previously passed a law banning abortions after about six weeks, but that law is currently blocked by court bans amid ongoing litigation. It briefly took effect last year following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, before the case of a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim, who was forced her travel to Indiana for an abortion, made headlines and created national outrage.
Currently in Ohio, abortion is allowed up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. The results of today’s election mean that the new amendment to the state’s constitution will blocks the six-week abortion ban.
Republicans and Democrats were using this election to test the waters to see how important the abortion issue remains with voters heading into the 2024 election. Ohioans have spoken – indicating their support, meaning Republicans have their work cut out for them ahead of 2024 in the Buckeye State.
Abortion rights groups are hoping to continue the momentum as they work to put more ballot initiatives before voters in 2024 in states like Arizona and Florida, two key presidential battleground states.