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Ohio's Pro-Life Community Concerned Over Constitutional Amendment Approval

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Pro-life organizations in Ohio are deeply troubled for families, women, and children following the approval of a referendum enshrining the right to abortion in the state constitution.

Photo credit: Adele Morris

Photo credit: Adele Morris

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
11/8/2023 (7 months ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Ohio, Pro-life, Constitutional Amendment, Abortion, Protect Women, Parental Consent, Late-term Abortion, Reproductive Freedom

"The approval of this amendment is a heartbreaking moment for Ohio, not due to an election loss, but because Ohio's families, women, and children will bear the consequences of this vote," stated the board of directors for Protect Women Ohio, the pro-life coalition fighting against the amendment.

On November 7, nearly 4 million Ohioans went to the polls to vote on Issue 1, which passed by a margin of approximately 13 points. A significant 56.6% of voters selected "yes" on the referendum, while 43.4% selected "no," with more than 95% of the votes counted.

This new amendment, approved through the referendum, will become part of the state constitution 30 days after its adoption.

Opponents of the amendment fear that it will pave the way for late-term abortions in Ohio and erode parental consent and notification laws for minors seeking abortions.

"When Michigan passed a similar amendment last year, voters were promised that parental rights would remain untouched, that late-term abortion would stay illegal, and that women's health and safety standards would be preserved," emphasized the Protect Women Ohio Board of Directors. "However, recent developments in Michigan, where penalties for partial-birth abortions were repealed, health and safety protections at abortion facilities were eliminated, and parental consent laws were deemed 'unconstitutional,' indicate that similar attacks on parents and children are now looming over Ohio."

Jor-El Godsey shared similar concerns about the amendment, stating that "Big Abortion prevailed" while "women, parents, and babies lost."

"Women have lost vital protections, parents have been deprived of their role in a crucial and perilous aspect of their child's medical and emotional well-being, and babies have been denied their innate bodily autonomy," Godsey lamented. "The work of pregnancy support is now the only refuge from the clutches of abortion profiteers."

Though the amendment permits lawmakers to restrict most abortions after "viability," it does not establish a clear cutoff for viability, leaving this determination to the mother's treating physician, often the abortionist, on a "case-by-case basis."

Furthermore, post-viability abortions cannot be restricted when the mother's life or health is at risk. Similarly, the assessment of a "health" risk is left to the mother's treating physician, typically the abortionist.

The amendment is devoid of any reference to parental rights or notification laws. However, many pro-life groups have cautioned that using the term "individual" instead of "adult" or "woman" could provide pro-abortion activists with an avenue to challenge the constitutionality of these laws in court.

Pro-abortion organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, celebrated the outcome of the referendum.

Despite this setback, pro-life activists remain optimistic about future referendum battles in other states. Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, noted that the amendment failed primarily due to misrepresentation from the pro-abortion side.

"Valuable lessons have been learned from Issue 1," Dannenfelser stated. "In states where abortion will be on the ballot in 2024, pro-life and pro-woman coalitions will need to allocate more resources to deliver compassionate pro-life messages to women and their children, countering the fear-driven campaigns of the opposition."

Referendums related to abortion will appear on the ballots in Maryland and New York in 2024, with efforts underway in at least nine other states to include abortion-related referendums on state ballots.

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