COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio voters rejected Issue 1 Tuesday night by a 14-point margin with high-than-expected turnout during the state’s August election.
Although the proposed constitutional amendment was defeated, both sides of the aisle said it is time to shift focus to the November election, which will have another hot-button issue on the ballot: abortion.
“If Ohioans value the ability to control and make healthcare decisions about their body with their families and their doctors, I urge them to pay attention to this ballot initiative that’s coming in November,” Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) said.
Ohioans will be asked whether abortion should be legal to the point of fetal viability and whether reproductive rights and choice should appear in the state’s constitution.
“This is going to go beyond what most Ohioans are willing to accept,” Rep. Adam Bird (R-New Richmond) said. “We are a pro-life state, and we want to protect the unborn. These are lives, and we want to protect them, and it is sad to see our fellow man who is celebrating the ability to terminate the life of someone who is preborn.”
But Weinstein said he believes there is “broad bipartisan” support for codifying abortion rights in the state constitution.
Ohio lawmakers did pass a six-week abortion ban in 2019, which was blocked by a federal court and then put back into place when Roe v. Wade was overturned. That law has been halted as it works through court for nearly a year, so is not currently enforceable.
If the abortion amendment passes in November, it would take precedence over the six-week ban.
“Maybe if we didn’t see so much extremism from the other side this wouldn’t be happening,” Weinstein said. “But I’m glad that Ohio voters will get to weigh in on it, and I expect us to vote yes in November.”
Ohio lawmakers said their focus right now is shifted to campaigning ahead of the November election.
“I think every Republican’s focus is going to be on campaigning back home against constitutionalizing the right to abortion,” Bird said. “And we have to do a really good job educating Ohioans.”
Tuesday, Nov. 7 is Election Day in Ohio.