Ohio voters have approved a constitutional amendment that guarantees access to abortion and other reproductive health care, marking a significant victory for abortion rights supporters. This landmark decision comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last year.
Ohio is now the seventh state to affirm abortion rights through a constitutional amendment and the only state to address statewide abortion rights question this year.
The constitutional amendment, known as Issue 1, establishes the right to abortion in the Ohio state constitution. Voters turned out in record numbers to support abortion access despite efforts by anti-abortion groups to spread misleading information.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, six other states have voted on abortion-related initiatives, all in favor of abortion rights. Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans support abortion access and disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision.
President Biden celebrated the results and reiterated his commitment to protecting reproductive health care. He called on Congress to codify the right to abortion in federal law.
The Ohio ballot initiative was a significant fight for abortion rights supporters, as it was the first time voters in a Republican-controlled state were asked to affirmatively guarantee the right to abortion in the state’s constitution.
The amendment specifies that individuals have the right to their reproductive medical treatment, including abortion, contraception, and miscarriage care. It prohibits the state from burdening, penalizing, or prohibiting abortion before viability, which is generally considered to be around 23 weeks of pregnancy. Late-term abortions would require approval from a medical professional attesting to serious health concerns.
The success of this initiative highlights the ongoing importance of abortion rights in American politics. Democrats hope that this issue will energize their voters and contribute to their success in the 2024 elections. Similar protections for abortion access are expected to be on the ballot in other states next year.