“We accept the results in regard to issue 1,” DeWine said. “In a democracy, in a country like ours, things are always open to discussion as we, as we move forward.”
In less than 30 days, the right to an abortion to the point of fetal viability will be written in the state’s constitution.
“I think the people of the state will want to take a look at once this goes into effect,” DeWine said. “They will have the opportunity to continue to judge how that is in fact working. So, we will see, and we’ll see how that evolves.”
DeWine said he thinks voters were tasked with choosing between the Heartbeat Law, a six-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest, and this amendment. DeWine signed the heartbeat bill, he said he does not regret signing it, but thinks it played a role in people making their decision.
“But most people are, frankly, in some continuum between that,” DeWine said. “Once Roe V. Wade was overturned, what was hypothetical became real, and when that happens, in any public policy issue, you can see a change in people’s opinions.”
Because voters passed a constitutional amendment, the state legislature cannot directly repeal or change it. But the legislature or people of Ohio can put another amendment on the ballot. DeWine said he is not going to encourage the legislature to put forward any resolution to go to the ballot right now.
In the meantime, Representatives Beth Liston (D-Ohio) and Anita Somani (D-Dublin) just introduced the ‘Reproductive Care Act,’ to repeal standing abortion laws.
“We’re hearing the voices of people in Ohio who said that reproductive healthcare access is something important,” Liston said. “It’s a right they now have in the Ohio constitution, so we’re working to make sure the laws reflect those votes and that decision.”
Liston said the new legislation would repeal things like the heartbeat law, and other restrictions that have been in place for decades.
“We have places in the state where you need to drive several hours in order to see an OB-GYN and a lot of that is because of these barriers to reproductive healthcare that have been in place,” Liston said.
A constitutional amendment supersedes state laws. DeWine said while he is not in favor of a repeal of these bills, he does not think it is necessary for the amendment to take effect. Liston said while she is optimistic that the constitutional amendment guarantees the right to reproductive care, she wants to be sure it is not an uphill battle.
“I had concerns about whether those laws would still be upheld by the courts, I still have a concern but now we are going to see what happens,” DeWine said. “We’re going to see what the courts do with those actual cases and that will play out over years, not just, you know, for the next six months.”