DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — In a close race watched across the nation, Ohio voters pass Issue 1 to enshrine reproductive rights, including abortion, in the state constitution.
The Amendment, which has been analyzed and debated for weeks, makes short but specific changes to Ohio’s state constitution.
The bill gives the most protection from regulation of abortion in Ohio’s history.
With the passing of Issue 1, “reproductive decisions including contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion will be up to the individual.”
Interpretation of the language is debatable whether minors are qualified as equal to adults when it comes to protecting their right to abortion care. Future litigation may specify or refute parental consent around abortions for minors.
Issue 1 states Ohio government will not “directly or indirectly burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against either an individual’s voluntary exercise of this right, or a person or entity that assists an individual in exercising this right, unless the State demonstrates that it is using the least restrictive means to advance the individual’s health in accordance with widely accepted and evidence-based standards for care.”
Ohioans can now access abortion care with little to no restrictions from state and local governments. Many Ohio laws are considered futile with the passing of Issue 1.
Some laws will become invalidated. These include the Heartbeat Act which restricted abortions at the detection of a heartbeat, usually around six weeks. It also includes the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization.
Back in October, Ohio Attorney General David Yost provided a legal analysis of Issue 1 which stated potential invalidation to Ohio’s Down syndrome discrimination law, among others.
According to Yost, these additional areas of Ohio law up will be up for debate:
- 24-hour waiting period and informed consent will now be waived. Previously, doctors were to meet with a pregnant woman a day before the abortion to explain the procedure and deliver social services information.
- Ohio law previously regulated methods of abortion, barring dilation and evacuation, outlined in Ohio laws as “dismemberment abortions” as well as dilation and extraction abortions, which Ohio law calls “partial-birth feticide.”
- Limits against funding abortions or providers may be challenged. Ohio law currently bars taxpayer money from being used to pay for abortions.
- Limits against funding for elective fertility treatments may also be challenged. Currently, Ohio’s Medicaid program does not cover artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. Under Isse 1, it is possible this could be considered a form of discrimination.
What we can expect to see continued debates and litigation as lawmakers develop and understand how Issue 1 reshapes current and future Ohio reproductive laws.