Proposal to protect reproductive rights in Ohio’s constitution moves forward

Nearly 450,000 signatures are needed by July to get the proposal on the November ballot.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 7:31 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Where does the future of abortion rights stand in Ohio? That’s the question a ballot initiative could answer.

If passed by voters, The Reproductive Freedom with Protections to Reproductive Health and Safety bill would ban any restrictions on abortion in Ohio and protect it under the state constitution.

The Ohio Ballot Board voted unanimously Monday to approve the initiative as a single-issue amendment, allowing it to move forward with the possibility of going before voters in November.

This proposal comes after a Hamilton County judge blocked Ohio’s Heartbeat Law, which bans the procedure from the first detection of cardiac activity or around six weeks into pregnancy.

Other states have passed similar measures to protect reproductive rights. Kansas, Michigan, California, Kentucky, Montana, and Vermont have either enshrined those rights or rejected constitutional restrictions on the procedure.

“It’s incredibly important to get it passed in the constitution because if we just did it as a bill as our legislatures change and maybe we have a friendly legislature now, we might not in five years and that bill could get repealed,” said Kristin Hady, who volunteers with the Toledo Women’s Center.

On the other hand, some say measures like this are not what mothers need.

“I think we need to be offering real material support to women because women don’t know what materials are out there because we just don’t advertise them enough. There are 2,700 pregnancy centers across the united states... they can give away free diapers, wipes, cribs, car seats, cribs all of that stuff,” said Falcons For Life President Morgan Reece.

Two local State Senators, Republican Theresa Gavarone and Democrat Paula Hicks-Hudson, are members on the ballot board. While Gavarone voted for the proposal to move forward, her opposition is firm.

“I would like to note for the record that I am pro life. I am horrified at this amendment, I mean the right to kill babies in Ohio’s constitution,” said Gavarone.

Hicks-Hudson released a statement today, calling the approval a “victory.” It says quote:

“The certification of the language brought before the board today represents a victory for democracy by allowing citizens to participate in the legislative process, as well as an important step toward protecting the fundamental rights of women. While there is still work to be done, I’m pleased that members of both parties were able to unanimously agree that the proposal is valid to appear on the ballot in November, should it receive the required number of signatures.”

Nearly 450,000 signatures are needed by July to get the proposal on the November ballot.

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