Abortion rights amendment makes the ballot this November, raising special election stakes even higher

An abortion access amendment to establish a constitutional right to “make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” will officially be on the general election ballot this November, announced by Secretary of State Frank LaRose on July 25.

The valid signatures surpassed the 413,487 minimum required to qualify, and spanned 55 counties, surpassing the 44 minimum required.

“I hereby certify that petitioners submitted 495,938 total valid signatures on behalf of the proposed statewide initiative,” LaRose wrote in a letter to the campaign, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights (OURR).

OURR reportedly submitted over 700,000 signatures from all 88 counties by the July 5 deadline, almost double the required number of signatures to qualify for the ballot.

“Every person deserves respect, dignity, and the right to make reproductive health care decisions, including those related to their own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion free from government interference,” OURR Executive Committee members Lauren Blauvelt and Dr. Lauren Beene said in a press release. “Now that the petition drive is complete, we’re eager to continue the campaign to enshrine those rights in Ohio’s Constitution and ensure that Ohioans will never again be subject to draconian reproductive health care policies imposed by extremists.”

With the amendment guaranteed to hit the ballot, the stakes of the August special election are now even higher.

Issue 1, the lone issue on the special election ballot, seeks to raise the threshold for amending the state constitution to 60%. Many lawmakers who support Issue 1, including LaRose, have admitted that their support is rooted in a desire to block efforts to codify abortion access.

OURR, among other pro-choice organizations in Ohio, have rallied against Issue 1 since it was introduced by House Republicans.

“As that process and planning for the general election campaign continues, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights and its affiliated organizations will actively participate in the effort to defeat Issue 1 in the August 8 Special Election,” said OURR in a press release.

Abortion is currently legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, following an order by the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas in October 2022 that temporarily blocked Senate Bill 23, which prohibited abortion at the detection of a heartbeat.

In May, The Center of Bioethical Reform set up an anti-abortion demonstration in CSU’s courtyard, comparing abortion to genocide and sparking massive counterprotest from students. The demonstration included graphic images of the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi people, and the Wounded Knee genocide of Native Americans, as well as lewd photos.

Election day is Aug. 8. Learn more about the election here.

Author: Mays Turabi

Avid writer, coffee-drinker, art lover. Oh, and Editor-in-Chief for The Cauldron.