(BrightPress.org) – Voters in Ohio approved an amendment to the state constitution that legalized abortion up through the point of fetal viability on Tuesday, November 7th. The off-year election featured the question on the ballot as “Issue 1” and since its approval, Ohio has become the seventh state that enacted expanded abortion rights in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned last year by the Supreme Court.
Lauren Blauvelt from Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights called it a “win for bodily autonomy.” Abortion advocates hailed the approval of the amendment as a victory as it will likely invalidate a slew of abortion restrictions on the books in Ohio.
Ohio had previously had laws on the books banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected or around 6 weeks. The amendment will allow abortion to be banned after fetal viability or 23-24 weeks depending on a variety of factors.
Democrats hope the victory will act as a bellwether for the 2024 election season, and they plan to continue to use the issue to drive voters into their camp. Abortion access is generally accepted by most Americans, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.
Interim president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Heather Williams called it a “huge victory.” Williams works to help Democrats get elected to state assemblies. She said that the win sent a message to the GOP that abortion is “non-negotiable.”
President Biden issued a statement along with Vice President Kamala Harris saying that extreme restrictions on abortion are only popular with a vocal minority of conservatives. Harris suggested Democrats plan to make it a national campaign issue in 2024. They plan to use the threat of “extremists” seeking a nationwide ban to drive voters into their camp.
Opponents of the amendment complained that the language was unclear and could have been interpreted to allow minors to get transgender treatments. However, that was generally considered an unlikely outcome by legal scholars.
The turnout for the election was significant for an off-year suggesting that the abortion issue drives voters to get to the polls. Several polling places even ran out of ballots, unprepared for the increase in voter turnout.
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