In Ohio, the debate over abortion rights has taken center stage following the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court. As the issue has made its way to voters, it’s become evident that support for abortion access remains strong. The question now is whether the wave of anti-abortion activism in states like Kansas and Michigan will also impact Ohio in the coming year.

Issue 1

Abortion rights activists in Ohio focus on “Issue 1,” a proposed constitutional amendment that, if passed, would guarantee the right to make reproductive healthcare decisions, including abortion.

This initiative has been inspired by the success of abortion rights advocates in other states who managed to put similar issues on the ballot.

Changing the Rules

However, they’ve encountered hurdles along the way. Notably, Republican lawmakers in Ohio called for a special election in August, also named “Issue 1,” which sought to change the rules, making it more challenging for the abortion rights amendment to pass. 

Unexpected Voter Turnout

Ohio voters turned out in greater numbers than expected and rejected this effort, making the threshold for passing an amendment a simple majority.

Voter Confusion

The fight over the reproductive rights amendment itself is now in full swing, and the back-to-back votes have led to some voter confusion.

First Yes Then No

Abortion rights supporters were asked to vote “no” on Issue 1 in August and “yes” on Issue 1 now, leaving some voters uncertain about how to cast their ballots.

A Common Problem

Ariana Allen, a nursing student at Ohio State University’s Lima campus, expressed her confusion after speaking with an anti-abortion activist. 

Not Making a Mistake

Allen wants to ensure her vote aligns with her pro-abortion rights stance and plans to conduct more research. She said, “So I don’t make [a] mistake – because I am for abortion rights.”

A Fight for Voters

Anti-abortion groups are actively contacting voters, urging them to vote “no,” and anticipate reaching over 600,000 voters.

Meanwhile, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights group, estimates their canvassers will have contacted more than 3 million voters.

The Law in Question

All of this unfolds in Ohio, a state where a strict abortion ban is looming. The law, currently tied up in court, bans most abortions after about six weeks and includes no exceptions for rape or incest. 

Overturning the Law

The ban briefly took effect last year following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, which overturned decades of abortion rights precedent.

The case received national attention when a 10-year-old rape victim was forced to travel to neighboring Indiana for an abortion.

A Tragedy for All

Both sides acknowledge the tragedy of that 10-year-old girl’s ordeal.

Amy Natoce, press secretary for the anti-abortion group Protect Women Ohio, says, “What happened to that 10-year-old girl, let’s be clear, was absolutely tragic.”

Ending the Conversation

However, Natoce does not explicitly state whether the girl should have had access to an abortion in her home state, leaving that decision to voters and the legislature.

Natoce said, “That is up to the voters and the legislature to decide,” and “If Issue 1 passes, the conversation ends.”

Optimistic Opposition

Desiree Tims, a progressive Ohio think tank leader and a proponent of the “Vote Yes” campaign, is optimistic that Ohio voters will align with the trends seen in other states last year.

Stand Up and Fight

Tims believes, “What the Republicans, frankly, have done in this environment is they have created a window for advocates on the left to say, ‘See, look! This is what we’ve been talking about,’” and “Our greatest fears, our nightmares, are coming true. And this is our time to stand up and fight back.”

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The post Ohio’s Abortion Rights Struggle: Voter Confusion, Reversed Laws, and the Ongoing Battle for Reproductive Freedom Bring Fears to Life first appeared on Thrifty Guardian.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Eric Glenn.

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