Advocates on each side get ready for possible vote to legalize abortion in Ohio

By: - June 13, 2023 4:40 am

An advocate gathering signatures. Photo by: WEWS.

Activists on each side of the debate are preparing for a summer of advocating for or combatting against an amendment to let Ohioans choose if abortion is legal.

Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights only have one more month to finish getting hundreds of thousands of signatures to put an amendment on the November ballot that gives voters a choice on reproductive care.

The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety” would allow every person to have the legal choice on abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care, and continuing a pregnancy. It would also prohibit the state from interfering or penalizing an individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or anyone or entity that helps in utilizing this right.

Tina Barhams is one of the hundreds of petitioners collecting signatures for the November ballot.

“We’re out here fighting to at least get it on the ballot in Ohio, so that a woman at least has a right to fight for her rights to her body,” Barhams said.

The pro-abortion rights groups need to get 413,000 valid signatures by July 5. The effort is going extremely well, and they have had a strong turnout, said spokesperson for Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom Gabriel Mann. They are already submitting batches of signatures for review.

“I always pledge to do at least 70 per day,” Barhams said.

But efforts to combat the amendment are also in full swing.

Anti-abortion groups are participating in the statewide campaign against the amendment — doing so by door knocking, phone banking, buying TV ads, posting on social media, and visiting churches to spread their message, Cincinnati Right to Life Executive director Laura Streitmann said.

“We’ve been continuing to educate, educate, educate,” Streitmann said. “This amendment is not the right fit for Ohio at all.”

She is also working to educate about August.

A special election is purposely being held before the abortion vote aiming to make it harder for Ohioans to legalize abortion.

State Issue 1 up for an Aug. 8 vote would raise the threshold for a constitutional amendment to pass from a simple majority, or 50% plus one, to 60%.

“This is a radical, dangerous abortion amendment, and it does not belong in our state,” she said. “We know that Ohio is a pro-life state, and we just look forward to proving that in the polls.”

Barhams said that anti-abortion advocates and men in politics shouldn’t get to decide the life consequences of someone they don’t know.

“We want a woman to be able to choose to do whatever she needs to do physically, medically, spiritually, for her body,” Barhams said. “Make sure you get out and vote August 8 because there’s a special election. Vote no.”

Pro-abortion rights advocates will be at festivals across Ohio throughout the month of June to collect signatures.



This article was originally published on and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.

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Morgan Trau
Morgan Trau

Morgan Trau is a political reporter and multimedia journalist based out of the WEWS Columbus Bureau. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trau has previously worked as an investigative, political and fact-checking reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich. at WZZM-TV; a reporter and MMJ in Spokane, Wash. at KREM-TV and has interned at 60 Minutes and worked for CBS Interactive and PBS NewsHour.