A ballot measure seeking to enshrine abortion protections into Ohio’s state Constitution is projected to pass, according to Decision Desk HQ, delivering a major win for Democrats and abortion rights advocates ahead of 2024.
The proposed constitutional amendment would protect access to abortion up until fetal viability, with exceptions for the life and health of the patient beyond that point. It’s the first time that abortion rights advocates have been able to pass abortion protections in Ohio, a state that’s trended increasingly red in recent years.
Abortion is legal up until 22 weeks, while the Ohio Supreme Court is weighing a six-week ban that is currently on hold. Ohio became a flashpoint after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, when a 10-year-old rape victim was forced to travel out of state to receive access to the medical procedure.
Earlier this year, the state held an August special election where voters weighed a separate proposed constitutional amendment that would have required the threshold for voters to amend the state constitution to jump from a simple majority to 60 percent. The special election garnered bipartisan criticism and came just months ahead of the November election, but it was ultimately unsuccessful.
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Had it passed, it would have made it harder for abortion rights advocates to pass their own ballot measure Tuesday.
Heading into the November election, Republicans sought to cast the abortion ballot measure as extreme and going too far for the state, while Democrats noted the looming six-week ban currently in litigation should the measure have failed to pass.
Polling from the Institute for Civics and Public Policy (ICAPP) at Ohio Northern University released late last month suggested there was majority support for the abortion ballot measure, though more respondents — 68 percent — supported the measure as originally proposed, compared to 52 percent that supported the certified text going before voters of the abortion measure.
The certified text of the ballot measure includes several changes to the language that’s sparked criticism from Democrats and abortion rights advocates.
The implications of the ballot measure’s passage are far-reaching, adding wind in the sails for Democrats and abortion rights advocates who are looking to put their own abortion measures on the ballot in other states. It also underscores an issue that continues to cut across party lines and motivates voters to the polls — one that Democrats are already leaning into heading into 2024.