COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohioans are split on an August ballot measure that could determine the fate of abortion in the state, a poll found.
While a majority of Ohioans support an abortion-rights amendment eyed for the November ballot, voters are divided on Issue 1 – the measure at hand in the Aug. 8 special election that will ask voters whether it should be harder to amend the state’s constitution, according to a late June survey conducted by Scripps News/YouGov.
The poll surveyed 500 Ohioans, though about 10% are not registered voters. Its margin of error is 5.95%.
In November, the Protect Choice Ohio coalition plans to place an amendment – which restores the right to an abortion up to the point of fetal viability – on the general election ballot.
The initiative mimics a recently-ratified constitutional amendment in Michigan, and also provides for autonomy in reproductive decisions like contraception, fertility treatment and miscarriage. It also prohibits abortions past the point of fetal viability, unless a physician deems it necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.
Most Ohioans, or 58%, agreed with the amendment’s provisions, with 23% in opposition and the remaining 20% unsure. Voters could further specify their level of support for the amendment: strongly agree (45%), somewhat agree (13%), neither agree/disagree (17%), somewhat disagree (11%), strongly disagree (12%), or no opinion/don’t know (3%).
To counteract the coalition’s attempts to enshrine abortion access into the Ohio Constitution, Republican state lawmakers fast-tracked a separate measure to raise the threshold for enacting a change to the constitution.
The measure, which will appear as Issue 1 in an August special election, would require 60% of voter support – as opposed to the existing simple majority of 50% plus one vote – to amend the state’s constitution. Issue 1 would also make it harder to get an initiative on the ballot in the first place by requiring signatures from all 88 counties in Ohio, rather than 44 as currently needed.
Unlike the abortion-rights amendment, Ohioans are divided on Issue 1. A plurality, or 38%, agreed with raising the threshold for enacting a constitutional amendment, whereas 37% disagreed. Another 26% said they were unsure.
Respondents could further specify their level of support for the amendment: strongly agree (18%), somewhat agree (20%), neither agree/disagree (19%), somewhat disagree (8%), strongly disagree (29%), or no opinion/don’t know (7%).
Further abortion restrictions
A third question posed to the survey’s respondents was whether further restrictions should be placed on abortion, which is prohibited beyond 22 weeks of pregnancy in Ohio.
Although Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law a six-week abortion ban in 2019, it has since been placed on hold by a Hamilton County judge, who determined the near-total prohibition violated the state’s constitution.
Those surveyed were split evenly — with 42% in support and 42% against additional restrictions on the procedure. The remaining 13% were unsure.
Respondents could further specify their level of support for the amendment: strongly agree (26%), somewhat agree (16%), neither agree/disagree (13%), somewhat disagree (9%), strongly disagree (33%), or no opinion/don’t know (3%).