COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – On Wednesday Ohioans will start heading to the polls for early voting in this November’s election.
Issue 1, this fall, is about reproductive rights and drew hundreds to the streets of Columbus on Friday.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted (R-Ohio) said the proposal is “too radical” for Ohio.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm on the ground and the more people learn about Issue 1, the more they understand its dangers and why they need to vote ‘no,’” Press Secretary for Protect Women Ohio Amy Natoce said.
Issue 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would codify the right to abortion, up to the point of fetal viability in the state constitution.
“Right now, the issue is whether this is the right policy and I think that most people think this is the wrong policy,” Husted said.
The amendment would protect other reproductive healthcare rights too, like the right to contraception.
“We’re once again standing with Ohioans to tell out-of-touch politicians coming for our rights and freedoms that ‘we won’t go back,’” Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party Liz Walters said.
As campaigns ramp up, the “vote yes” side also said they have a lot of energy behind their message. But the “vote no” side says the proposed amendment is too broad — and some said they worry about how the law could be interpreted.
“It is true that this eliminates parental consent for your daughters and allows for late term abortions,” Husted said.
Abortions in Ohio are still legal as if we were still under Roe V. Wade. But Ohio does have a six-week abortion ban — called the Heartbeat Law — on the books. The law bans abortion at about six weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. That law has been halted, though, and in court for nearly one year.
Most recently, the Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments about the hold on the law one week ago.
“One of the things about the constitutional amendment is it can only address one issue, so it does not address gender-affirming care, it does not address parental consent,” Representative Anita Somani (D-Dublin) said. “There are no late term abortions or partial birth abortions. Those are talking points on the right.”
But the “vote no” side said it’s important to keep having the debate about the right law in Ohio.
“If issue one passes, we will no longer be having debates about abortion law in Ohio. This will be codified in our constitution,” Natoce said. “Let’s defeat Issue 1 and let’s continue to have these hard conversations.”
Walters said voting yes on Issue 1 in November is about protecting women’s freedoms.
“What this does is establish a clear right for Ohio women to not have their rights threatened in any way,” Walter said.
If the amendment does pass in November, the state legislature will not be able to reverse it. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 10.