Majority Of Ohio Voters Back Abortion Rights Constitutional Amendment: POLL

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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A majority of Ohio voters support a ballot initiative that would enshrine abortion rights into the state’s constitution, according to a poll published Monday.

The “Right To Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety” petition, a citizens’ petition for a ballot referendum, seeks to add a section to the Ohio Constitution that would create a right for every individual “to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” including abortion. The amendment is supported by 58% of Ohio voters, according to a new poll by Suffolk University for USAToday. (RELATED: More Than A Year After Dobbs, Are Post-Roe Abortion Bans Working?)

Just 32% of Ohio voters opposed the measure, and 10% were undecided. Among the amendment’s supporters were one-third of all Ohio Republicans as well as 85% of independent women voters, according to the poll.

Left-wing groups began the initiative in response to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, and after Ohio’s governor signed a six-week abortion ban into law, which was blocked by an injunction. Abortion is currently legal in Ohio until after a fetus can survive outside the womb, which is understood to occur at around 22 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

The proposed amendment also allows abortion up to the point of viability and blocks any post-viability restrictions on abortion when a medical professional determines that pregnancy poses a risk to the life or health of the mother.

“Our solution to the ambiguity and confusing nature of the poorly written heartbeat ban is our constitutional amendment right,” said Dr. Lauren Beene, a co-founder of the Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, a group leading a coalition of organizations supporting the amendment, according to the Ohio Capital-Journal. “We are putting forth what people have been coming out of the woodwork to sign.”

The petition, which was submitted after obtaining the support of at least 1,000 Ohio voters, was required to obtain at least 413,466 signatures in support by July 5 in order to receive a public vote, per the Capital Journal. It received 710,000 signatures across all of Ohio’s 88 counties by the deadline, per The New York Times, and — if the requisite number of signatures are verified by the state — will appear on the state ballot on Nov. 7.

In response to the petition, conservatives in Ohio have initiated another state ballot proposal, known as “Issue 1,”  to amend the state constitution by raising the threshold for ballot referenda from 50% to 60% of the vote. That proposal is scheduled to receive a vote on Aug. 8 and would apply to the abortion-related amendment that follows in November should it pass.

“It’s 100% about keeping a radical pro-abortion amendment out of our constitution,” said Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose of the August vote, who is currently running for the U.S. Senate, according to the Capital Journal.

“Ohioans are facing a medical crisis and delaying even one day longer than is necessary is unconscionable. 2023 provides an opportunity to capitalize on the enthusiasm and activism generated by Dobbs and keep the momentum going,” wrote the Protect Choice Ohio Coalition on their website.

Wherever ballot measures regarding abortion have been voted upon, the results have favored pro-abortion interests. In Kansas, voters in 2022 declined to amend the state constitution to outlaw abortion, while voters in Kentucky rejected a similar amendment to its constitution later that year.

The poll was conducted between July 9 and 12 and surveyed 500 registered voters in Ohio, with the margin of error being ± 4.4%.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio declined to comment.

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