The US state of Ohio voted to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution on Tuesday, marking a major victory for pro-choice advocates in the state.
The of the BBC US partner CBS News predicted a decisive victory for the amendment. Early returns showed almost 56% of voters in the conservative state had backed her.
Its success is likely to boost Democrats’ hopes that abortion rights will remain a winning issue heading into the 2024 election. It also extends an unbeaten record for ballot measures aimed at protecting abortion rights since the national right to the procedure was struck down by the Supreme Court last year. This is the seventh such measure to be approved.
But Ohio’s measure, known as Issue 1, was widely seen as the toughest fight yet for abortion rights advocates, as it was the first Republican-led state to consider changing its constitution to expressly guarantee the right. The amendment would change the state constitution to include protections for abortion access.
It would establish “an individual right to reproductive health care,” including abortion, contraception and miscarriage care. Proponents of the amendment warned voters that if it is not passed, more restrictive laws could be introduced, including a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions. Abortion is currently legal in Ohio up to the 22nd week of pregnancy.
As votes were still being counted in the early hours of the morning, there were emotional celebrations from pro-choice supporters as US media predicted the constitutional amendment would pass. “This is one of the greatest moments of my life, working so hard with my team by my side to achieve reproductive rights and freedoms in Ohio.”
Kate Gillie said BBC at a watch party. “We have two little girls and this is about their future and their reproductive rights,” said another person at the party, Frank Tedeschi.
The amendment would change the state constitution to include protections for abortion access. It would establish “an individual right to reproductive health care,” including abortion, contraception and miscarriage care.
It specifically prohibits the state from “burdening, punishing or prohibiting directly or indirectly abortion” before viability, which is generally considered to be about 23 weeks of pregnancy. The amendment allows the state to prohibit abortion after the point of viability, except when the patient’s physician determines that the procedure is necessary to protect life or health.
Opponents of the measure expressed concern over that element, telling voters it would allow “late-term abortions” — a nonmedical term that refers to abortions later in pregnancy. However, proponents of Issue 1 argued that any abortions later in pregnancy would require approval from a medical professional who certifies serious health concerns.
Ohio Republicans, who control the legislature and governor, have hinted at introducing new abortion ballots in response. Jason Stevens, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, promised supporters that there are “many avenues we will explore to continue to protect innocent life.”
Tuesday’s result offers clues about voters’ views on abortion more than a year after Roe was overturned. Democrats, including President Joe Biden, will hope the issue continues to energize voters ahead of next year’s election.
“Ohioans and voters across the country have rejected efforts by MAGA Republican elected officials to impose extreme bans on abortion,” Mr. Biden said in a statement Tuesday night. Two other elections on Tuesday, one in Kentucky and the other in Virginia, will also affect access to abortion in the coming months.
In the southern state of Kentucky, the re-election of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who ran ads attacking his opponent for his tough anti-abortion stance, is seen as a victory for activists fighting to preserve abortion access in the state.
And in Virginia, Democrats — who campaigned against Republican Gov. Glenn Youngin’s push to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — won control of both legislative chambers. The Ohio results are also being watched in Arizona and Missouri, states that are both considering putting similar ballot measures next year.
a href=”https://www.geo.tv/latest/517983-pro-choice-ohio-votes-abortion-rights-into-constitution-in-big-dem-win”>Source link