COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — An anti-abortion group is releasing a pair of new commercials repeating its claims against a proposed amendment to Ohio’s constitution.
NBC4 has reported on assertions by the group, Protect Women Ohio, that the amendment would eliminate parental consent if a child seeks any reproductive or gender-affirming care. Critics have said those claims are not true.
One 60-second ad features a woman named Libby. The other’s central character is Linda.
“Today in Ohio, if your minor child wants to have an abortion or get a sex change, you as a parent have rights,” Libby tells the camera. “This amendment would take away those rights.”
The ads are part of Protect Women Ohio’s $5 million campaign opposing the amendment.
“(My daughter) can say, ‘I’m going to go get a sex change.’ And I can’t say or do anything about it because we have this amendment now,” Linda says in the ad.
Freda Levenson, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, called the ads “outright lies.”
“These ads are not true,” Levenson said. “The amendment provides the right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions. It’s literally limited to that. Sexual identity is not reproduction.”
But Amy Natoce, a spokesperson for Protect Women Ohio, said that gender reassignment surgery, hormone blockers, and other similar medical procedures affect a person’s reproductive abilities.
“The fact that they’re saying it’s not reproductive care, I truly don’t understand how they could make that argument,” Natoce said.
Levenson also refuted claims the amendment would infringe on Ohio’s parental consent laws.
“Everyone knows that the rights that adult citizens have under the constitution are more extensive than rights for minors,” Levenson said. “For example, the second amendment that provides the right to bear arms does not apply to a child.”
But Natoce said the amendment should say that it only applies to adults, in that case.
“They chose not to, they chose the word ‘individual,’” Natoce said.
The proposed amendment addresses the individual “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.”
There is no mention of gender identity or any care related to it.
“There is no possibility that (Protect Women Ohio’s) interpretation would ever be accepted by a court,” Levenson said. “It doesn’t make sense.”
Protect Women Ohio points to court cases in other states in which the ACLU participated in arguments against state parental notification laws. In Ohio, it is a crime to perform an abortion on an unemancipated minor without the consent of a legal guardian or a judge.
You can read the full text of the proposed amendment below.