In a significant victory for abortion rights advocates, Ohio has voted to guarantee the right to abortion and other reproductive health care in the state’s Constitution.
Decision Desk HQ projects that the constitutional amendment, known as Issue 1, has passed, enshrining the rights to abortion, contraception, miscarriage care, and fertility treatment in Ohio. The amendment will take effect in 30 days.
The passage of Issue 1 has drawn national attention, as Ohio was the only state voting directly on abortion in 2023. The victory marks a 7-and-0 winning streak for reproductive rights advocates since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
Lauren Blauvelt, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates Ohio, expressed excitement over the win, stating that the future is bright for bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. She also emphasized that Ohioans have made it clear that abortion is a winning issue.
Ohio Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment
This victory for abortion rights in a state that twice voted for former President Donald Trump is seen as a boost for advocates seeking to put similar measures on the ballot in red and purple states in 2024.
Democratic Representative Shontel Brown, who represents Cleveland in the House, recognizes Ohio’s significance as a test case for the rest of the country.
The journey towards passing Issue 1 began in 2022 when a coalition of Ohio physicians and reproductive rights advocates started working to get the measure on the ballot. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Ohio’s strict six-week abortion ban went into effect, with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
The state’s ban gained national attention with stories of a 10-year-old rape victim who had to travel to Indiana for abortion care, as well as couples having to leave the state for care in nonviable pregnancies.
Dr. Marcela Azevedo, a pulmonologist and co-founder of Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, believes that the movement’s work will have a lasting impact on future generations.
She described the victory as a reflection of the unbeatable Ohioan spirit and commended the unity demonstrated by Ohioans during this fight.
A lower court had previously blocked Ohio’s six-week ban, allowing providers to perform abortions through 22 weeks of pregnancy.
The state’s Republican-controlled Supreme Court heard arguments challenging the ban in late September, indicating the ongoing legal battles surrounding reproductive rights in Ohio.
Proponents of Issue 1 argued that the measure would protect Ohioans from government interference in private medical decisions. Their advertisements also emphasized the lack of exceptions for rape and incest in the existing ban.
As Ohio stands at the forefront of the reproductive rights debate, advocates hope that this victory will pave the way for similar progress in other states, driving forward the fight for reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy.