One year after overturning of Roe v. Wade, future of abortion in Ohio remains uncertain
A timeline of how we got to where we are now
Hundreds gather at a rally to support abortion rights. (Photo by Graham Stokes for the Ohio Capital Journal. Republish photo only with original story.)
In the year since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Ohio’s abortion landscape has changed dramatically — with a new amendment on the horizon.
Thousands gathered at the Ohio Statehouse on June 24, 2022 through the weekend to protest the Dobbs ruling, while others gathered in celebration.
“This Roe v. Wade decision has again been something that has reversed course on decades of precedent, sending us backward,” U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) told OCJ/WEWS.
Congresswoman Brown is working in D.C. to try to enshrine abortion access into law, but said right now, the important fight is on the ground in Ohio.
State Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) has agreed, but from the other perspective.
“The time has come for Ohio to truly stand up for the rights of the unborn,” Schmidt said in bill testimony from 2022.
What is the current law in Ohio?
With Ohio’s abortion ban law on hold by a court pending litigation, abortion is legal in Ohio currently up to 22 weeks of pregnancy — or from the last menstrual period.
However, this has been a growing political fight for the past decade.
Republican lawmakers passed the six-week abortion ban, which had no rape or incest exceptions.
This was a step in the right direction for many anti-abortion advocates. But some, like Austin Beigel, want it to go further.
“We are looking for the full abolition of abortion legally to protect all human life from conception to natural death,” Beigel said.
This law was blocked by a federal judge a few months later.
When Roe fell in 2022, Ohio reinstated the six-week ban. Pro-abortion rights groups sued, and months later, a state judge indefinitely blocked the law from going into place, citing infringement of privacy.
Now, the case is set to be heard by the Ohio Supreme Court, which is GOP-led. This is what got the ACLU’s Gary Daniels and abortion rights advocates moving.
“Get reproductive rights on the November ballot so that Ohioans can decide this for themselves without the help of politicians,” Daniels said.
Ohioans will likely get to choose this November if abortion should be legally protected in the state constitution. Supporters should be finishing up gathering signatures this week.
The direct language of the abortion rights amendment, and the portion that the ads focus on, states: “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.”
Nearly 60% of Ohioans would support this language, according to a Scripps News/YouGov poll.
Republicans in the state had a trick up their sleeve, though. They snuck in an August election, despite banning them a few months prior, to take place on Issue 1.
Issue 1 would raise the threshold for a constitutional amendment to pass from a simple majority, or 50% plus one, to 60%.
“That 10% difference might be how we protect these babies,” Beigel said.
Issue 1 doesn’t just apply to abortion, which is why hundreds of bipartisan and nonpartisan groups are against it.
“Issue One is an attempt to silence the voice of voters in Ohio,” Rep. Brown said. “We must do everything to stop it.”
The GOP has admitted it was timed to make the abortion amendment harder to pass in November.
This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com 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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