DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Ohio voters will decide this November whether to add the right to abortion in the state’s constitution.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s Office announced Tuesday that the Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights submitted more than enough signatures to put the amendment on the ballot.
Ohio has seen 16 citizen-initiated amendments on the ballot since 2000, but only five have been passed. This amendment is proving to be one of the hotly debated issues in our state’s history.
After the U.S. Supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights went to work to bring reproductive issues to the ballot.
“As a doctor, I’ve seen some difficult things happen to people,” Dr. Marcela Azevedo, President of Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, said. “I wanted them to have the freedom to make decisions if they themselves or if their daughters, if their wives, if their sisters are putting to these difficult circumstances.”
The amendment does give an individual rights to pregnancy, contraception and abortion among others, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
It would also prohibit abortion at fetal viability with an exception being the professional judgment of a patient’s healthcare provider in “life or death situations”.
Margie Christie, the Executive Director of Dayton Right to Life, said she felt the exception was extreme.
“Women and girls, to get abortions through all nine months of pregnancy,” Christie said. “So that would mean we would be aborting 8-pound babies, stay where they were born, and that’s very extreme for anyone, honestly.”
The amendment defines fetal viability as “the point in a pregnancy when a professional’s judgment of a treating physician, determines a significant likelihood of survival outside the uterus with reasonable measures”.
Dr. Azevedo said she believes pregnancy and abortion is nuanced, and it’s about trusting women on this issue.
“To me is just keeping the basic rights that we have had as women in Ohio,” Dr. Azevedo said. “That is what I want for myself. That is what I want for my sisters. That is what I want for my daughter, and so I hope that you will join me in trusting them to make decisions for their own families.”
Christie believes parents should be concerned, saying that the amendment could affect minors and family rights, though that is not specifically mentioned in the amendment.
“Parents wouldn’t even know if someone was abusing their child and took them for an abortion.” Christie said. “They would never know that. So, that that education needs to be happening among Ohio parents.”
Both sides were ready for the announcement Tuesday, but the big push for educating Ohio voters is about to ramp up in earnest moving forward.
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