Pro-Life Activists Warn Ohio Ballot Initiative Would Eliminate Health and Safety Regulations and Parental Consent for Minor Abortions

A ballot measure that would amend the Ohio state Constitution to remove current health and safety protections for women and girls seeking abortion and parental consent requirements for minors seeking the procedure has advanced following certification by the state attorney general’s office.

Pro-life organizations are rallying to oppose the “The Right to Reproductive Freedom With Protections for Health and Safety” initiative that they say will endanger the lives of women and girls seeking abortions.

“Regardless of what your views are on abortion, everyone should be concerned about this radical ballot measure that eliminates basic health care regulations and contains no protections for women’s safety,” said Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America State Affairs Director Sue Liebel in a statement. “It’s extremely concerning that it would take Ohio’s law on parental consent off the books and it would forbid mothers and fathers from being able to have a say or any knowledge if their daughter seeks an abortion.”

The pro-life group said the ballot measure would endanger women and girls because it would invalidate laws that ensure those seeking abortion are screened and counseled by a licensed doctor who can transfer a patient to a local hospital in an emergency.

Additionally, parents would no longer be required to be informed or to provide consent for a minor girl to undergo an abortion.

The measure, if added to the state Constitution, would also allow late-term abortion up until the moment of birth.

The proposed amendment’s provisions include:

  1. Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.

“Reproductive decisions” in the amendment’s language may also include gender change issues as well.

Additionally, the insertion by the abortion lobby of “miscarriage” in the amendment’s language suggests a desire to stir up fear in women that states banning most abortions would also block care for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.

“All you have to do is look at the state laws and look at the language in the state laws that are on the books to see that they don’t outlaw those kinds of treatments,” OB/GYN Dr. Christina Francis,  CEO-elect of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) told The Star News Network in September.

“But, also, look to the practices of those of us who have practiced medicine our entire careers, or practices of hospitals that did not allow abortion, such as Catholic hospital systems, where we’ve always been able to treat those conditions,” Francis said, continuing:

And what about when a woman’s life is in danger because of a pregnancy complication? While that may be termed by some an “abortion,” one, it’s allowed by state laws that are very clear about ending a pregnancy early, prematurely separating mom and baby in situations where the mom’s life is in danger, but also, again, looking to our everyday practice, you know, as an OB hospitalist, I am managing high risk OB patients, I am taking care of those rare situations where mom’s life is in danger because of a pregnancy complication. And in those circumstances, I, as well as every other competent physician knows, that’s not the same as an elective abortion.

Francis said she and other OB/GYN’s can still intervene in these emergencies, noting that “well-trained OBs know how to identify signs that a woman is becoming sick before she becomes critically ill so that we can intervene before.”

“That’s the other piece of misinformation that we’re hearing,” Francis added, “that women have to be going to the ICU before you can intervene – which is not true at all.”

“That’s medical malpractice, if physicians are waiting until that point to try to intervene,” she asserted.

The proposed measure continues:

  1. The State shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against either an individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or 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.

Additionally, while the amendment states abortion “may” be banned once an unborn baby is considered “viable” to live outside its mother’s womb, the anti-life activists qualify this statement:

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.

The “health” of the mother is a giant loophole used by the abortion industry that has come to include even minor stress or anxiety about a pregnancy.

In January, Kristi Hamrick, vice president of media and policy for Students for Life Action, told The Star News Network it is “universally accepted that saving the life of the mother, when two lives can’t be saved, is important.”

Hamrick, however, made a sharp distinction between the “life” of the mother and the “health” of the mother.

“The phrase ‘health of the mother’ has been used by abortionists to justify their entire business model,” she explained, adding that the word “‘health’ has been twisted out of recognition in abortion-related law.”

“Abortionists use ‘health’ to justify their healthy bottom line, and they are making billions,” Hamrick asserted.

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins also criticized former President Donald Trump in a January op-ed at Fox News after he blamed pro-life leaders, who did not advocate for exceptions to abortion restrictions, for the Republican Party’s losses in the midterm elections.

“Trump’s first mistake was muddying the discussion with the term ‘exceptions’ that allows the abortion lobby to justify more than 63 million abortion deaths since 1973, while making multi-millions in profit each year,” Hawkins noted, adding, in particular:

Life of the mother protections have almost universal support spelled out in every pro-life bill passed nationwide. Pro-life leaders like myself have been clear that it’s not an act of direct abortion when the struggle is to save two lives, but only one will make it.

In February 2016, when Hillary Clinton was campaigning for president and championing exceptions to any abortion restriction for the “health” of the mother, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser wrote at National Review that, after 43 years, at that time, of Roe v. Wade, the abortion industry had shown “that allowing a woman’s health exception to a late-term abortion ban is a loophole so big as to make the underlying restriction meaningless.”

“It applies to anyone who claims to feel ‘mental distress’ at the thought of having a baby,” Dannenfelser observed.

The proposed Ohio amendment also states that “fetal viability” is “determined on a case-by-case basis.”

Ruth Edmonds, of Center for Christian Virtue, Ohio’s largest Christian public policy organization, asserted as well the proposed amendment is both “anti-parent and anti-woman”:

It completely abolishes current Ohio law guaranteeing parental involvement before any abortion is performed on their minor daughter. It also removes critical health and safety protections for Ohio women that are currently in place.

“If this amendment passes, the wellbeing of Ohio’s women and girls would be sacrificed so that the abortion industry can bring painful late term abortion to our state,” Edmonds added. “Ohioans must reject this proposal.”

In his letter certifying the ballot measure’s language in the petition is “fair and truthful,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost warned of potential legal problems with the constitutional amendment.

“There are significant problems with the proposed amendment, and if adopted it will not end the long-running litigation on this topic, but simply transform it,” Yost wrote.

The petition for the amendment was filed last week by radical anti-life advocates, including Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice Ohio, the Abortion Fund of Ohio, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio.

The measure now heads to the Ohio Ballot Board, which has 10 days to certify the ballot language contains only one proposal. If the Ballot Board approves, the abortion activists would have until Wednesday, July 5, to collect and submit approximately 412,500 valid signatures to place the issue before voters on the ballot in November.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Pregnancy Test” by cottonbro studio.


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