Abortion is officially enshrined in Ohio’s state Constitution, with residents voting overwhelmingly Tuesday to increase protections despite Republicans’ last-ditch attempt to thwart them.
The Associated Press projected the victory of the Issue 1 ballot measure at 9:02 p.m. As of 9:14 p.m., the “yes” vote was leading at 57 percent.
Issue 1 will create a new amendment allowing people to decide for themselves about all reproductive health. The state can restrict abortion access only after a doctor determines the fetus is viable or could survive outside the uterus. And even then, abortions can be performed if the patient’s health or life is at risk.
State Republicans tried multiple times to block the measure. In August, they tried to raise the threshold for constitutional amendments to a 60 percent vote instead of a simple majority. Although they insisted the move was to protect Ohio’s Constitution from special-interest groups, Secretary of State Frank LaRose later admitted the measure was “100 percent” about blocking the abortion referendum.
An overwhelming 57 percent of Ohioans rejected that change, so Republicans tried again. The Ohio Ballot Board voted 3–2, along party lines, to change the text of the amendment on Tuesday’s ballot. Instead of the full text, the ballot displayed a summary written by LaRose. LaRose’s version was littered with inflammatory and fearmongering language, such as using “unborn child” instead of “fetus,” likening abortion to infanticide, and making it appear as if state officials could still intervene.
Finally, LaRose ordered that 26,666 voter registrations be purged in late September. He did not publicly announce his decision at the time and only acknowledged it when local outlets began reporting it.
But even with all of their desperate attempts, Republicans could not prevent Ohioans from choosing abortion rights.