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Ohio Supreme Court allows constitutional abortion amendment to stay on ballot

by | Jun 8, 2023

By Cassy Fiano-Chesser 

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that an amendment adding the supposed ‘right to abortion’ into the state constitution can remain on the November ballot.

In a 7-0 decision, the justices upheld the Ohio Ballot Board’s decision to let the amendment move forward as one single initiative. A lawsuit had been filed in April, pointing out that the amendment covers multiple issues, and should therefore be split into multiple initiatives. “We think it is very overbroad and the [Ohio] Ballot Board never considered, never really addressed what exactly is being proposed by this, and they had no debate, no discussion,” attorney Curt Hartman said.

Parental rights groups have been protesting the amendment, which was written by the ACLU with input from Planned Parenthood. They have argued that the amendment threatens parental rights, allowing minors to undergo abortions and gender reassignment treatments without their parents’ knowledge or consent. A recent National Review article notes the wording of the bill (emphasis added):

Beyond abortion, the text of the proposed amendment provides more broadly that “every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to” several categories: contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion. “Reproductive decisions,” however, is a very broad term. By explicitly defining such decisions as “not limited to” the enumerated categories, the proposal establishes its scope as sweeping.

A natural reading would extend to any medical procedure that involves the human reproductive system, including sex-change surgery. The language also applies to individuals without any age qualification, so the proposal makes no distinction between adults and minors. Additional language would deny parents the right to any intervention on behalf of their children that would discourage them from obtaining the procedure in question:

       The State shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize,  

      prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against either:

1.    An individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or

2.    A person or entity that assists an individual exercising this right,

unless the State demonstrates that it is using the least restrictive means to advance the individual’s health in accordance with widely accepted and evidence-based standards of care.

“The language in this amendment is so broad and so vague, and it puts no age limits on this,” Amy Natoce, of Protect Women Ohio, told the Washington Examiner in May. “It specifically says ‘including but not limited to,’ so that leaves this so open-ended. …

Furthermore, videos have surfaced of people from out of state being paid by Planned Parenthood to travel to Ohio and collect signatures for the petition. Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest abortion chain, has been heavily promoting pro-abortion legislation in numerous states across the country. For now, it appears that they will be able to move forward with their efforts in Ohio.

“It’s disappointing that the court did not believe it was two issues; however, we knew that we had a tall order to overcome with this case,” Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said in a statement. “The court ruling does not change our tactics and strategies, and we know we will be successful in November.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.

Categories: State Legislation
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