COLUMBUS (LifeSiteNews) — A proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution enshrining a “right” to effectively unlimited abortion in the Buckeye State would go far beyond the Roe v. Wade status quo and block prohibitions on partial-birth and dismemberment abortions, allow abortionists to target disabled babies, and end parental consent requirements, according to a legal analysis from the office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
Drafted by the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and backed by the Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights (OPRR) advocacy arm Protect Choice Ohio (PCO), the proposed Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety Amendment posits a “right” to make “personal reproductive” decisions, “including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion,” which the state “shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against.”
The amendment will appear on the state’s November 7, 2023, ballot as Ohio Issue 1, when voters will decide whether it should be adopted and override all present and future abortion laws from the Ohio legislature.
The analysis provides a list of current Ohio laws that the amendment could jeopardize, including its heartbeat-based six-week abortion ban, ban on abortions sought specifically to exterminate a child diagnosed with Down syndrome, ban on second-trimester dilation & evacuation (“dismemberment”) abortion methods, 20-week ban based on fetal pain, mandatory 24-hour waiting period and informed-consent standards, parental consent laws, ban on post-viability abortions, parental consent requirement, abortion pill safety regulations, restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion, contraception, and fertility procedures; and parental involvement requirements for minors’ contraception, sterilization, and gender “transition” decisions.
The amendment, the analysis determined, would establish a more stringent standard for reviewing pro-life laws than the ones in place nationwide for decades prior to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe last year, which “will make it harder for Ohio to maintain the kinds of law already upheld as valid prior to last year’s decision in Dobbs. In other words, the Amendment would give greater protection to abortion to be free from regulation than at any time in Ohio’s history. That new test includes definitions and other terms that likewise make it harder for any law covering ‘reproductive decisions’ to survive.”
The amendment’s language “covers any burden” on the “right” to abort, “apparently however slight,” and potentially “any area where the State acknowledges abortion or other ‘reproductive’ care — such as fertility treatment — as different from other procedures, such as by not funding such elective procedures under Medicaid or other State benefit programs.” It would end “fetal life” or “medical ethics” as legitimate state interests relating to abortion because they are distinct from “advanc[ing] the [pregnant] individual’s health,” and impose “least restrictive means” and “widely accepted and evidence-based standards of care” that are less open to interpretation by the judgment of the people’s elected representatives.
Additionally, by declaring that every “individual” has these “rights,” the amendment can be interpreted to mean “minors having the same rights as adults, as opposed to the traditional practice of children having limited rights,” which would create problems for parental consent and notification requirements. And while it technically allows abortion to be banned after fetal viability, such bans would still be subject to the abortionist’s personal judgment of medical necessity, rendering any such ban effectively meaningless.
On Friday, an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 Ohioans descended on the state’s capital for the Ohio March for Life, many brandishing signs specifically calling for Issue 1 to be rejected.
“So many Ohioans think that if Issue 1 successfully passes that it will return Ohio to where the abortion and pro-life limitations were prior to Roe being overturned,” said national March for Life president Jeanne Mancini. “That’s not true. This will go so much farther than Roe. In fact, overnight, Ohio, which has been a traditionally a very pro-life state, will become one of the most pro-abortion states in the country, if not the most pro-abortion state.”
Another group, Protect Women Ohio (PWO), is also running a $5 million statewide advertising campaign in hopes of raising awareness of the amendment’s ramifications for gender-confused youth. PWO spokeswoman Amy Natoce has previously observed that the measure’s true nature “is so unpopular that [the ACLU] couldn’t even rely on grassroots support to collect signatures,” and instead “paid out-of-state signature collectors to lie to Ohioans” about it.
Last weekend, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati directed each of its parishes to play for churchgoers a homily by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, urging all Ohio Catholics to vote against the amendment, which he called a “clear threat to human life and dignity.”