Ohio’s Issue 1: Voters Decide the Fate of Abortion

AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth

Lavery Griffin

Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, controversy throughout the country was reignited, as the Americans across the political spectrum debated heavily on the topic of abortion. The constitutional right to an abortion that American women had was revoked in June of 2022, which left many feeling as though they lacked bodily autonomy—that their right to choose was in the hands of the federal government. When Roe v. Wade was overturned, some states banned abortion altogether, or after a 6-week gestation period. However, others chose to leave the decision in the hands of their citizens, keeping it legal. Ohio was one of many states that chose to ban abortion following 6 weeks of pregnancy, but the state soon chose to act differently on the topic. As of November 2023, the state declared that abortion is legal before viability. 

First, it is important to note that Ohio is a red state with a Republican-focused agenda, explaining the shock across the country when Ohio passed the decision. This shock brought positive news to many citizens of Ohio as, abortion laws, when in the wrong hands, can negatively affect women. Even President Biden discussed this common threat of conservative Republicans using abortion as a way to threaten the rights of American women and their doctors, stating that “this extreme and dangerous agenda is out-of-step with the vast majority of Americans”. Additionally, a significant aspect of this decision is that it was voted on by the citizens of Ohio, rather than the more conservative state lawmakers

The vote to pass Article 1—which made abortion legal in Ohio—prompted many citizens in other states to begin questioning the decisions of their own legislatures. Many seem to want the ability to make change within their seemingly unchanging Republican state governments. A CBS News poll found that a majority of 57% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in some shape or form, while only 42% believe that abortion should be completely illegal. Because of the renewed hope from the recent vote from Ohio, many across the country have faith that their state will be next to amend their constitution in favor of women’s rights.

Many who were in support of Ohio’s Issue 1 made the argument that the government should not interfere with family matters. This wording made it possible to gain the support of more moderate citizens who may have voted differently if abortion was the center of the argument. Additionally, many supporters focused their attention on victims of rape or incest, which brought more attention to the severity of abortion laws. The vote to amend Ohio’s state constitution may ultimately alter the decisions of other states, fueling hope for many women throughout the country that their state may follow in Ohio’s footsteps and guarantee reproductive freedom.

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