LJ Cunningham

Vote For Issue 1 To Protect Reproductive Rights In Ohio

Everything to Know About the Vote to Pass Issue 1 In November to Protect Reproductive Healthcare Rights in Ohio

Post Published: October 6, 2023

On November 7th in Ohio, a vote to pass Issue 1 could amend the state constitution, and preserve reproductive healthcare rights. The vote would maintain individual’s rights to make their own family planning choices. It’s a crucial democratic moment for Ohio, as Republicans have attacked reproductive healthcare for more than a decade. Voters who respect an individual’s bodily autonomy and right to choose should prepare to turn out in Ohio.

What is Ohio Issue 1?

The ballot initiative protects abortion as it is, in Ohio, with no abortions provided beyond 21  weeks. When the vote for Issue 1 passes in Ohio it would also “establish a state constitutional right to ‘make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions.'”

Families seeking fertility treatments to become pregnant deserve unrestricted access to healthcare. The amendment isn’t limited to abortion access; it would also guarantee Ohio citizens the liberty to choose invitro-fertilization procedures.

Ohio Republicans Attacks on Reproductive Rights Made Issue 1 Necessary

The Timeline to Ohio Issue 1-November 2023 2011 The first “fetal heartbeat bill” is introduced to the Statehouse: HB 125. John Kasich eventually leaves office having signed over 20 anti-abortion Republican-backed bills. 2013 John Kasich Signs TRAP (or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) into law. It’s the first laws criminalizing abortion providers. 2019 Abortion is now a felony, with no exceptions for rape and incest. SB 23 is signed into law by Mike DeWine. 2020 Ohio makes cremation of fetal remains aborted a law, without regard for religious and personal decision-making of the person obtaining the procedure. 2022 With the fall of Roe v. Wade, Republican Mike DeWine immediately signs the “heartbeat ban” into law. It’s active from June 24, 2022-September, 2022. It’s currently on indefinite hold. 2023 Changes to voter laws are made by Frank LaRose in an attempt to stop the amendment to Ohio’s constitution. This causes frustration while the special election to make abortion a protected human right is now on November’s ballot. Aug. 2023 The attempt to raise the percentage needed to amend the State Constituion fails. Abortion rights activates obtain more signatures than needed to get abortion on the ballot for November, 2013. Nov. 7 Ohioans vote to protect reproductive healthcare in the State constitution.

Former Ohio governor John Kasich is no moderate Republican. Abortion activists remember Kasich as the man that who relentlessly attacked abortion while in office. Secretly working with Ohio Right to Life in 2012, Kasich put Ohio on the list of most restrictive states for abortion over a decade ago.

John Kasich is why the “heartbeat ban” exists in Ohio. Before the MSNBC pundit left office, he signed into law some of the most draconian anti-abortion legislation in the nation.

He vetoed the heartbeat bill at that time, opening the door for fellow Republican Governor Mike DeWine to sign it into law in June, 2022 with the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Christian Jenkins’ indefinitely halted the so-called “heartbeat ban” law last October.

When Jenkins called the heartbeat ban “unconstitutional” and abortion “undoubtedly healthcare,” that was another win for democracy and people who make their own healthcare decisions.

Criminalizing Healthcare is Undemocratic and Racist

Black women specifically die at rates 2.5 times higher than white parents and infants. Physicians testified this can increase with the enactment of the heartbeat ban. Anti-abortion groups are currently trying to revive this law. Passing Ohio Issue One could make it null and void for good.

The historic control over Black and Indigenous pregnancy, child rearing, and family is older than the nation itself. So much so, that medical professionals are urged to see reproductive justice as a racial justice issue.

Racism is a feature of this legislation. Systemic and historic oppression of racialized and religious-minoritized groups is fact. White Christians today champion their beliefs as reason alone to make law. This isn’t democratic.

Abortion Is Safe and Legal in Ohio

Abortion is safe and legal in Ohio. The Abortion Fund of Ohio (formerly Women Have Options, Ohio or WHO/O) can help you obtain safe, legal, abortions. Donations are also welcome.

Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights is a network of local physicians advocating for abortion. These are the heroes who filed suit with Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom, to stop the non-democratic “Heartbeat Law.”

Ohio is a Democratic State

The state constitution exists to stop government overreach by individual lawmakers. Voting is a right in a democracy. It’s the government’s job to ensure voting remains accessible, so the people have a truly representative government.

Corrupt Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is the head of elections. Mr. LaRose is behind the August special election. This election was held to increase the needed margin to amend the Ohio constitution. This election was prompted directly by Issue One, in an attempt to stop abortion from being codified as a protected individual right.

LaRose has famously stated voter fraud is “exceedingly rare,” before admitting to making his decisions based on an anti-abortion agenda.

Frank LaRose took extra steps to stop abortion from being constitutionally protected. Abusing his power as head of elections, he’s working openly for anti-abortion special interests. Not the majority that favor legal abortion in Ohio.

Passing Ohio Issue One is imperative to preserve the will of the people, within this level of state corruption.

Image of the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse. A crowd of people is inside, many with signs. From a Day of Action for Democracy in Columbus, Ohio, May, 3, 2023. Photo courtesy Paul Becker.
Ohioans packing the Statehouse this May, in response to Frank LaRose’s attempt to raise the needed majority to change the state constitution.




Grassroots Organizing Could Codify Abortion 

The immense grassroots effort to bring abortion to Ohio’s constitution is impressive. Physicians and other advocates have worked hard to keep healthcare decisions where they belong: in the hands of individual people.

That is a collective win desperately needed in Ohio. Ohioans know what democracy is, and we prove it when we have to. We’ll prove it November 7th by passing Issue One.

What to Know About Voting Issue 1 In Ohio

Current Republican governor Mike DeWine signed into law Ohio bill 458 just ahead of the special August 8th election. That election was also a Republican-backed effort to make it more difficult to amend the state constitution. In a tremendous win for abortion-rights activists, this failed. Still, Ohio voters must be up-to-date to have their vote counted.

The ACLU Ohio is an excellent resource for current voting requirements.

We must vote for Issue 1 in Ohio to send a clear message to Republicans that they don’t control our reproductive heath rights. Republicans here won’t take “no” for an answer, and this is why the amendment will pass.

Voting In Ohio: Checklist

Don’t forget essentials to voting nowadays: check your registration status here.

Make sure you have an ID to vote in-person:

  • Unexpired Ohio driver’s license with current or former address
  • Unexpired state ID card with current or former address
  • U.S. passport or passport card
  • Military ID, specifically a U.S. Military ID card, Ohio National Guard ID card or a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ID card.

Plan ahead to vote in person. If you’re not voting until the day of, remember: November and the fall season is upon us. It’s easy to forget to schedule important things. Like voting. Make sure you’re making time and space for the act itself.




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