February 27, 2023

Pro-Abortion Groups Submit Ballot Measure to Create Constitutional Right to Abortion in Ohio

Two pro-abortion groups in Ohio submitted a ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to guarantee a right to abortion.

Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights and Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom sent the proposed amendment to Attorney General Dave Yost on Feb 21. Ohio Right to Life has voiced concerns that the amendment would override all pro-life protections currently on the books in Ohio, including a parental consent law.

Abortion is currently legal in Ohio through 22 weeks of gestation pending a court decision on the constitutionality of a 2019 heartbeat law.

The amendment would ensure “[e]very 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.” It adds that the “State shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against either an individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or a person or entity that assists an individual exercising this right, unless the State demonstrates that it is using the least restrictive means to advance the individuals’ health…”

Language in the amendment deceptively states that abortion could be “prohibited after fetal viability”  while also stating that viability would be “determined on a case-by-case basis.” It also states that abortionists could still commit abortions after viability if he deems it necessary to protect the mother's health. Broad health exceptions like these are often interpreted to include mental health, effectively giving abortion businesses the justification to commit abortion at any gestational age.