Ohioans on Tuesday voted to approve a constitutional amendment that would create a right to abortion in the state.
Ohio was the only state directly voting on abortion this year, and attracted high levels of outside investment and national attention. Both abortion rights advocates, who are on a winning streak with ballot measures nationwide, and anti-abortion advocates saw the vote as a critical test for the 2024 election.
Here’s what you need to know about the new constitutional amendment.
What is Ohio Issue 1?
Issue 1, or the Right to Make Reproductive Decisions Including Abortion Initiative, is an amendment on the November ballot that would guarantee a constitutional right to abortion and other reproductive health care in Ohio.
- Issue 1 Results:
What did a “yes” or “no” vote on Issue 1 mean?
A “yes” on Issue 1 would establish an affirmative right to abortion, contraception, miscarriage care and fertility treatment in the Ohio constitution.
A “no” on Issue 1 would maintain the status quo, leaving Ohio’s abortion policy up to lawmakers and the courts.
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How does Issue 1 impact abortion?
Ohio’s six-week abortion ban, which has no exceptions for rape or incest, is currently blocked in court, allowing abortion procedures before 22 weeks of pregnancy. Ohio has six full-service clinics and three centers that provide only medication abortion.
With the passage of Issue 1, abortion and other forms of reproductive health care will be protected in the state constitution. The amendment allows lawmakers to restrict abortion after the point of fetal viability, except in cases of threats to the life or the health of the pregnant patient, but requires the state to use “the least restrictive means” in regulating abortion.
When was the Issue 1 vote?
Election Day was Tuesday, November 7. Polls closed at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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Who supports Issue 1?
Issue 1 is backed by Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, a coalition of doctors and reproductive rights groups. Organizations in the coalition include Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, the ACLU of Ohio, the Abortion Fund of Ohio, and Pro-Choice Ohio. Several civic, faith and labor groups have endorsed the coalition.
Groups that oppose Issue 1 include Protect Women Ohio, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, the March for Life, the Catholic Conference of Ohio, and Christians for Civic Virtue. Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, and other top Republican elected leaders in the state also oppose Issue 1.
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What other issues were on the 2023 ballot in Ohio?
Issue 2, a measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio for adults 21 and older, also passed. Unlike Issue 1, Issue 2 is an initiated statute and not a constitutional amendment, meaning that the state legislature could later amend or repeal it. Both measures required a simple majority to pass.
What is the language of Issue 1?
The following language will be added to the Ohio constitution:
A. Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on:
2. fertility treatment;
3. continuing one’s own pregnancy;
4. miscarriage care; and
B. The State shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against either:
1. An individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or
2. A person or entity that assists an individual 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 of care.
However, abortion may be prohibited after fetal viability. But in no case may such an abortion be prohibited if in the professional judgment of the pregnant patient’s treating physician it is necessary to protect the pregnant patient’s life or health.
C. As used in this Section:
1. “Fetal viability” means “the point in a pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of the pregnant patient’s treating physician, the fetus has a significant likelihood of survival outside the uterus with reasonable measures. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.”
2. “State” includes any governmental entity and any political subdivision.
D. This Section is self-executing.
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What did polls say about Issue 1?
A poll from Survey USA and Baldwin Wallace University fielded October 9-11 found voters supporting Issue 1 by 58 to 34 percent, a similar result to a July poll from the USA Today Network and Suffolk University which found that 58 percent of likely Ohio voters supported the amendment while 32 percent opposed it.
And 2022 polling from the Public Research Religion Institute found that 66 percent of Ohioans think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 6 percent believe abortion should be illegal in most or all cases.
From the Collection