We are at a crossroads. Over the next few months, Ohio has the opportunity to become a state that protects reproductive freedom. It’s imperative that we the people act now, while we still have the chance.
For the last several months, Ohioans have been collecting signatures to get reproductive freedom on the November 2023 ballot through the citizen-led initiative process. Once the signatures are validated, voters will have the chance to enshrine abortion protections into our State Constitution, meaning Ohioans will be able to make reproductive healthcare decisions with their doctors without interference from the government and extremist politicians. So, how did we get here? What’s at stake?
Right now, the future of abortion access in Ohio is hazy at best, bleak and grim at worst. Currently, Abortion access in Ohio is hanging by a thread.
In 2019, our gerrymandered legislature dominated by extremist politicians, passed a six-week abortion ban. At the time, lawyers from the ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood promptly sued to prevent this bill from going into effect because abortion access was federally protected under the United States Supreme Court precedent – Roe v. Wade. That all changed on June 24, 2022. Once SCOTUS released its decision in Dobbs v. JWHO, overturning Roe v. Wade, our state was thrown into chaos.
When Roe was overturned, the legal underpinning that had protected Ohioans from the radical and extreme six-week abortion ban was gone, and the ban became effective law within hours of the Supreme Court decision. In October, the ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood legal team again won an injunction temporarily stopping the enforcement of the draconian law while the legal battle plays out.
The period from June to October, when the six-week ban was in effect, was a time of pure agony for so many Ohioans. It is not hyperbolic to describe those months as a horrific attack on the basic human rights of Ohioans.
Today, that law remains blocked – but only temporarily. The Supreme Court of Ohio, which is composed of a majority of justices endorsed by Oho Right to Life, or with other connections to anti-abortion organizations, will ultimately redecide this case – and this day will come sooner rather than later. Enshrining explicit protections in our state constitution via a citizen-led initiative is the only way to guarantee our reproductive rights will be protected.
In addition to fighting for our reproductive freedom, we’re also fighting for the future of our democracy. State leaders are forcing an August Special Election to try to make it harder for us to protect our freedoms. They are hellbent on destroying our democracy to ensure their powers are limitless and our personal freedom non-existent.
This year, we face two choices. One in August and one in November. We can choose to protect democracy over autocracy in August. Then, come November, we can either chose to enshrine reproductive freedom into our state constitution – ensuring all Ohioans have the chance to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions free of government intrusion. Or, we face the terrifying reality of a total abortion ban passed by an unaccountable legislature. And that’s just the beginning.
We cannot count on an extremist legislature hellbent on subverting the will of the majority to protect our rights.
We cannot rely on our state’s highest court, which is packed with members endorsed by anti-choice groups to protect our rights.
We cannot rely on an anti-abortion governor, who’s proven a willingness to sign horrific abortion bans into law to protect our rights.
The only way forward is with each other. This is our Ohio, after all.
Vote No in August.
Vote Yes in November.