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Ohio’s Issue 1: “This is exactly what unrestricted, unregulated abortion looks like.”

by | Oct 31, 2023

By Dave Andrusko 

A week from today, November 7, the voters of Ohio will take the measure of “Issue 1,” a citizen-initiated proposal that all pro-lifers and many non-partisans alike insist would embed abortion in the state constitution. Each day, it seems, critics of Issue 1 publish opinion pieces that offer evidence that Issue 1 is “The Most Dangerous Initiative Ohio Has Ever Faced.”

Take Karl von Valtier, whose op-ed appeared in the Columbus DispatchIt is subtitled “You needn’t hold ardent pro-life views – from even a moderate pro-choice perspective – to see this constitutional amendment is a radical proposal that is wrong for Ohio.”

That is the truth that pro-abortionists will do anything to squelch. Let’s follow Mr. Von Valtier argument, which appeared yesterday. He begins

In a recent debate on State Issue 1 the proponent made the desired endgame of the pro-abortion camp very clear – they would like the government to forfeit any authority to regulate abortion, and leave all decisions on whether, when or how to conduct the abortion between the mother and the abortionist. 

There is no doubt in their sincerity about this — if incorporated into Ohio’s constitution, this amendment will do exactly that. 

Point #1, Issue 1 is intended to remove any limitation—including the many that protect women.

The key is found in the third and fourth paragraphs:

The prevalent controversy and confusion about what the amendment will actually do is primarily driven, not by what’s written in the ballot language but by what is not. 

The vague legalese is strategically written to be open-ended, and with most of the key provisions prescribed by terminology that is ambiguous and expressly undefined. 

When proposals are written in legalese—are “open-ended” — who fills in the blanks?

[B]ecause most of the substance of the amendment is built on undefined terms, those definitions will necessarily be interpreted by the courts – using decades of legal precedent that is favorable to removing restrictions and “burdens” on abortion. 

Examples of this vagueness are strewn hither and yon throughout The Reproductive Freedom amendment:

Opening with reproductive decisions of “every individual” that are “including but not limited to…”, it goes on to use phrases like “indirectly burden,” “person or entity that assists an individual”, “least restrictive means”, “widely accepted,” “evidence-based,” and maybe most significantly – the patient’s “health.” 

Von Valtier adds what this means:

The Reproductive Freedom amendment is built wholly on opaque terms like these – and not a one of them is defined in the amendment text.

Did you catch that? Not a one of them is defined in the amendment text.”

What protections are cast aside if Issue 1 passes?

Current Ohio law includes: prohibitions on late term or partial birth abortion; safety standards that require the abortion provider to be a physician, and the abortion facility to have a transfer agreement with a hospital (in case of emergency); required parental notification and consent for abortion on minors; and more – these all will likely be struck down if the amendment passes. 

This is an excellent, well-reasoned argument against Issue 1 which I hope you will read in its entirety. Let me pick one more of Mr. von Valtier’s excellent insights.

In response to the claim that this will nullify parental rights, proponents’ only response is that it “says nothing about parental rights,” and that the whole purpose is to “remove politicians from the decision.” 

That the amendment is silent on the matter of parental rights is exactly the problem

Past court decisions have identified parental notification laws as a “burden” on abortions, and the explicit constraints on state interference in this amendment guarantee that any challenges to nullified parental rights will be shot down in the inevitable lawsuits to come. 

He quotes from the text of the proposal and concludes

This will not only cancel the aforementioned restrictions and safety standards, but is designed to explicitly shield abortion from state interference. This is exactly what unrestricted, unregulated abortion looks like.  It is how the removal of parental rights and legalized abortion up to the moment of birth are accomplished. 

Categories: State Legislation
Tags: Issue1 Ohio