Supporters of Ohio Issue 1 cheer as the results are shown at a watch party hosted by Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights on November 7, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio.
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Ohio voters have added the right to access abortion care to the state constitution, NBC News reports — another major political victory for abortion rights advocates nearly 17 months after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.
The passing of the measure of Issue 1 inserts the language into the state constitution guaranteeing every person in Ohio the right “to their own reproductive health care, including, but not limited to, abortion,” and prohibiting the state from “burdening, penalizing, or prohibiting” those rights — though it specifies that abortion will remain prohibited after point a. the doctor judges that a fetus would likely survive birth, with exceptions to protect the woman’s life or health.
The ballot approval marks yet another victory for abortion rights advocates, this time in a state that Donald Trump carried twice by 8-point margins. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the national right to access abortion with the Dobbs decision in June 2022, pro-abortion-rights ballot measures have won every election so far, even conservative ones. states including Kentucky and Kansas — and in August special elections in Ohio that served as a proxy battle ahead of the struggle for the November constitutional amendment.
Tuesday’s result further indicates that abortion may remain a great liability for the Republicans in the election. As in Ohio, polls showed that voters across the country favorably abortion protection — a fact that Democrats used last year to retain control of the US Senate, fend off a red tide in the House and win several governorships. Next year, it’s likely to be central to President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.
In Ohio, passage of the amendment would effectively kill the state’s “heartbeat bill,” which entered into force soon after the Dobbs decision and banned most abortions—with exceptions for the health of the pregnant woman and ectopic pregnancies—but remains temporarily blocked by a state judge.
That case is before the state Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in September.
Groups on both sides of the abortion battle have spent millions ahead of Ohio’s August election — another ballot campaign, this one on whether to make it harder to amend the state constitution in the future, including raising the passing threshold to 60 percent instead of for a simple majority. He lost in August. Her resounding defeat was a clear victory for reproductive rights advocates in Ohio and in many ways paved the way for the measure that passed Tuesday.
After that campaign, reproductive rights groups began to outspend anti-abortion groups in the fight for the November measure.
As of Aug. 9, groups supporting the measure had spent $23.7 million on ads for the Nov. 1 issue, compared with $10.7 million spent by anti-abortion groups against the amendment, according to AdImpact, a company that tracks political ad spending.