COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohioans will likely vote on another Issue 1 in November – but it won’t impact how citizens amend the state constitution.
Issue 1’s solid defeat on Tuesday – 57% to 42%, according to unofficial election results – cleared a hurdle for the abortion rights amendment slated for the November election. As the state’s first — and currently — only, statewide initiative certified to appear on the ballot, it will take the name of the proposal intended to block it from passing.
Tuesday’s Issue 1 would have required all future constitutional amendments, including the upcoming abortion rights amendment, to achieve at least 60% of the vote to pass instead of the simple majority currently needed. Without it, the abortion rights amendment has an easier path to victory.
The proposed abortion rights amendment – now dubbed Issue 1 – provides for the following:
- Every Ohioan has a right to make their own reproductive decisions, including contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage and abortion
- The state cannot burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with or discriminate against an Ohioan’s decision to exercise their reproductive rights
- Abortion can be prohibited after fetal viability, but it cannot be prohibited if a physician deems the procedure necessary to protect the patient’s life or health
- Fetal viability is defined as the point in a pregnancy when a physician deems the fetus has a “significant likelihood of survival outside the uterus with reasonable measures” and is determined on a case-by-case basis
The amendment’s place on the ballot, however, is pending a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court as to whether the amendment’s language follows Ohio law for ballot initiatives. Two Republicans filed a complaint days after the amendment’s signatures were certified, arguing that it should have included three statutes that would be overturned should it pass.
With the election less than three months away, the Ohio Supreme Court has until Monday to make a decision, according to a brief from Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
Abortion rights advocates, anti-abortion organizations and state lawmakers have already begun the sharp pivot toward November’s Issue 1 vote. At a news conference Wednesday morning, Dr. Sri Thakkilapati, interim executive director of Cleveland abortion clinic Preterm and member of the Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, was confident that the rejection of Issue 1 on Tuesday mirrors the support for a constitutional right to abortion in November.
“We know from providing abortions for the last 49 years in Ohio that people in every corner of the state need this service, and we know that they support this right,” Thakkilapati said.
On Tuesday night, Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) said in a statement that Republicans’ focus will also be on the November vote.
“As a 100% pro-life conservative, we must defeat Issue 1 on Nov. 7 to stop abortion from being a part of our state’s constitution,” Stephens said.