On Monday, the Ohio Ballot Board unanimously certified that the proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize abortion throughout the state called “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety,” incorporates only one constitutional amendment and therefore advances.
The Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom, a coalition of radical pro-abortion activists that includes Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice Ohio, the Abortion Fund of Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio, along with the Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, must now gather over 413,000 signatures from registered voters in at least 44 counties, which equals 10 percent of the votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election before July 5th. The amount of signatures must equal at least 5 percent of the votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial race in each county.
If the sufficient number of signatures are “verified by the Ohio Secretary of State at least 65 days before the election, the full text of the proposed amendment will be placed on the ballot in the regular or general election that occurs subsequent to 125 days after the filing of the petition.”
The amendment would add a Section 22 to Article 1 of the state constitution. The proposal would remove Ohio’s parental notification legislation when a minor wants an abortion, as well as the requirement that abortionists adhere to fundamental hospital health and safety standards. The proposal also aims to permit abortions far after babies have heartbeats and can feel pain.
Ohio Secretary of State and Chairman of the Ballot Board Frank LaRose said that the “sole purpose” of the Ballot Board was to decide whether the proposal incorporates one or more constitutional amendments not to “debate the merits of the issue.”
State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) said that although the proposal does contain only one constitutional amendment she is pro-life and “horrified about putting this into the constitution.”
After learning the coalition advanced the amendment on Monday, Ohio Right to Life‘s director of communications Elizabeth Marbach told The Ohio Star that it is imperative that Ohioans vote against this ballot issue come November.
“This ballot initiative is another shameful attempt by the abortion lobby to capitalize off painful situations to force upon Ohio citizens abortions until birth, remove parental rights, and cancel health and safety standards for abortion mills to abide by. Ohioans must protect vulnerable women and pre-born children against predatory out-of-state interest groups and vote against this come November,” Marbach told The Star.
Center for Christian Virtue (CCV) legislative liaison Nilani Jawahar told The Ohio Star that although they expected the Ohio Ballot Board’s ruling they urge Ohioans to reject the petitions.
“While the Ohio Ballot Board’s ruling was expected, we want everyone to be aware of the extreme measures behind the petitions that Planned Parenthood and other radical pro-abortion groups will circulate throughout the state. If approved, Ohio would legalize painful, late-term abortions up till birth, remove any parental consent or notification before young girls have an abortion, and allow men to pressure women into unwanted abortions. We urge all Ohioans to reject these petitions because of the harm this proposal would cause to unborn babies and women,” Jawahar told The Star.
CCV President Aaron Baer urges Ohio lawmakers to move quickly to pass state Representatives Brian Stewart‘s (R-Ashville) and Derek Merrin‘s (R-Monclova) joint resolution to increase the threshold to amend the Constitution to 60 percent.
“We also cannot allow liberal and pro-abortion special interests to attempt to buy their way into Ohio’s Constitution. Every pro-life lawmaker must move quickly to pass Representative Brian Stewart and Leader of House Republicans Derek Merrin’s Joint Resolution to increase the threshold to amend the Constitution to 60 percent,” Baer said.
In January, Stewart and Merrin, along with 30-plus GOP co-sponsors, re-submitted the “Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment,” which aims to require support from at least 60 percent of voters rather than a simple majority to pass future proposed amendments that lawmakers introduced last legislative session.
Although Stewart said that there was ample time to have the “Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment” on the May ballot, it did not pass in the Ohio House and Senate prior to the February 1st deadline.
Lawmakers now face an August 9th deadline to get the proposal before voters in November. In order for Stewart to get his resolution on the November ballot, three-fifths of the members in both chambers have to approve the resolution first. In the House, that’s 60 votes.
The Ohio Republican Party was set to vote on a resolution opposing the abortion amendment on March 10th, but there was discussion on whether to include it in a new party platform. They are supposed to meet again in roughly two months.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Pregnancy Test” by Tima Miroshnichenko.