UNITED STATES NEWS

Ohio voters pass constitutional amendment to protect abortion access

Nov 7, 2023, 8:08 PM | Updated: 8:09 pm

Supporters of Issue 1 cheer at a watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Columbus Ohio. (AP Photo/Su...

Supporters of Issue 1 cheer at a watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Columbus Ohio. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that ensures access to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care, the latest victory for abortion rights supporters since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

Ohio became the seventh state where voters decided to protect abortion access after the landmark ruling and was the only state to consider a statewide abortion rights question this year.

The outcome of the intense, off-year election could be a bellwether for 2024, when Democrats hope the issue will energize their voters and help President Joe Biden keep the White House. Voters in Arizona, Missouri and elsewhere are expected to vote on similar protections next year.

Heather Williams, interim president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to state legislatures, said the vote in favor of abortion rights was a “huge victory.”

“Ohio’s resounding support for this constitutional amendment reaffirms Democratic priorities and sends a strong message to the state GOP that reproductive rights are non-negotiable,” she said in a statement.

Ohio’s constitutional amendment, on the ballot as Issue 1, included some of the most protective language for abortion access of any statewide ballot initiative since the Supreme Court’s ruling. Opponents had argued that the amendment would threaten parental rights, allow unrestricted gender surgeries for minors and revive “partial birth” abortions, which are federally banned.

Public polling shows about two-thirds of Americans say abortion should generally be legal in the earliest stages of pregnancy, a sentiment that has been underscored in both Democratic and deeply Republican states since the justices overturned Roe in June 2022.

Before the Ohio vote, statewide initiatives in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont had either affirmed abortion access or turned back attempts to undermine the right.

Voter turnout for Ohio’s constitutional amendment, including early voting, was robust for an off-year election. Issue 1’s approval will all but certainly undo a 2019 state law passed by Republicans that bans most abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, with no exceptions for rape and incest. That law, currently on hold because of court challenges, is one of roughly two dozen restrictions on abortion the Ohio Legislature has passed in recent years.

Issue 1 specifically declared an individual’s right to “make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” including birth control, fertility treatments, miscarriage and abortion.

It allowed the state to regulate the procedure after fetal viability, as long as exceptions were provided for cases in which a doctor determined the “life or health” of the woman was at risk. Viability was defined as the point when the fetus had “a significant likelihood of survival” outside the womb, with reasonable interventions.

Anti-abortion groups, with the help of Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, tested a variety of messages to try to defeat the amendment, primarily focusing on the idea that the proposal was too extreme for the state. The supporters’ campaign centered on a message of keeping government out of families’ private affairs.

The latest vote followed an August special election called by the Republican-controlled Legislature that was aimed at making future constitutional changes harder to pass by increasing the threshold from a simple majority vote to 60%. That proposal was aimed in part at undermining the abortion-rights measure decided Tuesday.

Voters overwhelmingly defeated that special election question, setting the stage for the high-stakes fall abortion campaign.

United States News

Associated Press

Judge rejects Alec Baldwin’s request to dismiss criminal charge in ‘Rust’ fatal shooting

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge has rejected a request by Alec Baldwin to dismiss the sole criminal charge against him in a fatal shooting on the set of “Rust,” keeping the case on track for a trial this summer. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer on Friday upheld an indictment charging Baldwin with […]

11 minutes ago

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Preempted by coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix. ___ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — A panel of secretaries of state with Jocelyn Benson, D-Mich., Brad Raffensperger, R-Ga., Adrian Fontes, D-Ariz., and Al Schmidt, R-Pa. ___ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.; […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Mississippi man accused of destroying statue of pagan idol at Iowa state Capitol takes plea deal

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Mississippi man accused of destroying a statue of a pagan idol at Iowa’s state Capitol pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge in return for prosecutors dropping a felony hate crime count. Michael Cassidy, a former congressional and legislative candidate, was set for trial June 3, but his attorney […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Case dismissed against Maryland couple accused of patient privacy violations to help Russia

BALTIMORE (AP) — A federal judge has tossed a case against a Maryland couple accused of divulging patients’ medical records as part of a conspiracy to aid Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Gallagher on Wednesday said the government “bungled” speedy trial procedures ahead of an attempted retrial and dismissed […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Voting rights advocates ask federal judge to toss Ohio voting restrictions they say violate ADA

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Voting rights advocates asked a federal judge on Friday to strike down restrictions contained in Ohio’s sweeping 2023 election law that they say restrict a host of trusted individuals from helping voters with disabilities cast absentee ballots. The motion for summary judgment came in a lawsuit filed in December under the […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

American is flying home after getting suspended sentence for ammo possession in Turks and Caicos

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (AP) — An American arrested in the Caribbean for illegally carrying ammunition received a suspended sentence Friday, according to a spokesperson for the Turks and Caicos Islands, and his spokesman said he was flying back to the United States. Bryan Hagerich was sentenced to one year, suspended and fined $6,700, […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Ohio voters pass constitutional amendment to protect abortion access