Ohio voters finally get a chance to overturn dangerous abortion ban

Ohioans are voting Tuesday to overturn a dangerous abortion ban – don’t let politicians get in the way

Published November 5, 2023 12:02PM (EST)

Ohio Senate Building in Columbus, Ohio (Getty Images/Douglas Sacha)
Ohio Senate Building in Columbus, Ohio (Getty Images/Douglas Sacha)

Voters from coast to coast cast their ballots last November to protect reproductive freedom through ballot measures and by delivering decisive victories to lawmakers who will champion their fundamental rights. They have the chance to do it again on Tuesday in Ohio. 

Voters in the Buckeye State will weigh in on Issue 1 next week.  Ahead of the vote, a coalition of progressive and reproductive rights organizations are working tirelessly to protect abortion rights and access. If approved, the measure will block the state’s dangerous six-week abortion ban, passed by the GOP-led state legislature and currently blocked by the courts.. On Tuesday, the voters can put people—not politicians—back in charge of their own decisions about their bodies and families. 

Polls show that 8 in 10 Americans believe in legal abortion.

As we witness the devastating fallout of extremist Republicans’ abortion bans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, these opportunities to win back our rights are as important as ever.

Polls show that 8 in 10 Americans believe in legal abortion, and we know that, given the chance, voters overwhelmingly vote to protect their freedoms at the ballot box. But that hasn’t changed what we’re up against. In state after state, voters must overcome dirty tricks and dishonest politicians who simply cheat when confronted with the reality that the public doesn’t support their dangerous anti-abortion agenda. 

There is perhaps no better example than Ohio, where Republican Frank LaRose, the current secretary of state also running for U.S. Senate, has made it clear he will do whatever it takes to support his own political ambitions—no matter the cost. He has left no stone unturned in his attempts to trick and silence voters. 

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In August, Ohioans rejected his thinly-veiled power grab designed to make all future citizen-led amendments more difficult to pass. For weeks, GOP politicians out-of-step with the majority of Ohioans lied about the amendment’s true intentions until LaRose said the quiet part out loud, acknowledging that it was “100%” about blocking abortion rights. Weeks later, Ohioans overwhelmingly rejected his amendment by 14 points.

Yet Columbus politicians only dug their heels in further. 

Weeks after his failure, LaRose used his official position to rewrite the language Ohioans will see when they vote on Issue 1 this November and cram in anti-abortion disinformation meant to muddy the waters. It is yet another blatant attempt to silence and trick voters and block an effort that more than 700,000 Ohioans signed on to support. 

But LaRose, much like his colleagues across the Republican Party, does not care what his constituents want. He doesn’t care about their health and well-being. After all, he has already promised to support a national abortion ban if elected to the Senate, regardless of how Ohioans vote this November.

At Reproductive Freedom For All, we’ve been in this fight for over 54 years and we know there will always be politicians like Frank LaRose who are more concerned with getting ahead than doing the right thing for the people they were elected to represent. But we have hope, because voters have shown time and again that they will not sit back and take extremists’ efforts to roll back their most fundamental rights.

Last year, voters showed the country that a consensus of Americans believe everybody should have the freedom to make their own decisions about their lives and futures. They went to bat for abortion rights and access, securing victories for reproductive freedom in every state where it was on the ballot — including red states.

Now, voters have a chance to do it again in Ohio. 

There’s still a long road ahead to make sure every person in our country can access the abortion care they need. It’s a fight that will take every tool in our toolbox to win—including ballot initiatives like Issue 1 and races up and down the ballot, from statehouses to the U.S. House and Senate to the White House. It’s on us to build the future we want, and this November, we have another chance to move a step closer to that world in Ohio. 

By Mini Timmaraju

Mini Timmaraju is President and CEO of Reproductive Freedom for All, formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America.

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Abortion Abortion Access Commentary Issue 1 Ohio