5 reactions to passage of Ohio Issue 1 enshrining abortion right into state constitution

A close-up view of signage in support of Issue 1 is seen on Nov. 3, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio.
A close-up view of signage in support of Issue 1 is seen on Nov. 3, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. | Andrew Spear/Getty Images

Ohio voters approved a ballot measure that will amend the constitution to make abortion a constitutional right, drawing strong reactions from supporters and critics to what is seen as a blow to the pro-life movement.

With 99% of the vote reporting, 56.6% of Ohio voters supported Issue 1, while 43.4% rejected it. The text of Issue 1 declares that "Every individual has a right to make and carry out one's reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on (1) contraception; (2) fertility treatment; (3) continuing one's own pregnancy; (4) miscarriage care; and (5) abortion."

Although the now-passed constitutional amendment states that "abortion may be prohibited after fetal viability," referring to the point in pregnancy where an unborn baby can survive outside the womb, it clarifies that "in no case may such an abortion be prohibited if, in the professional judgment of the pregnant patient's treating physician, it is necessary to protect the pregnant patient's life or health."

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This provision of the amendment has led to concern from pro-life advocates that it will essentially lead to the legalization of abortion up until birth in Ohio. 

Tuesday's election comes after a referendum put before Ohio voters in August asking them to approve increasing the threshold required to pass a constitutional amendment from a simple majority to 60% failed.

The August ballot question, also named Issue 1, received support from pro-life advocacy groups. Had August's version of Issue 1 passed, Tuesday's abortion referendum would have failed to secure the votes necessary to enshrine a right to abortion in the state constitution. 

Ohio has become the fourth state to approve a constitutional right to abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court determined in the June 2022 Dobbs v. Women's Health Organization ruling that the U.S. Constitution does not contain a right to abortion. California, Michigan and Vermont voted in favor of similar ballot measures last year. Unlike all of the other states where voters have opted to establish a constitutional right to abortion, Ohio supported Republican former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. 

Ohio also differs from the other states because it passed pro-life protections into law, although the six-week abortion ban approved by the state government was put on hold by the courts at the time of the referendum. The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America estimates that the six-week abortion ban, which is now overruled by Issue 1, would prevent an estimated 14,910 abortions from taking place on an annual basis. 

According to AdImpact, which keeps track of money spent on political campaigns in the U.S., opponents of Issue 1 spent $16.3 million leading up to Tuesday's election, while supporters of Issue 1 spent $24.4 million. 

While pro-life activists expressed profound disappointment at Tuesday's election results, pro-abortion advocacy organizations celebrated the development. Here are five reactions to the passage of Issue 1.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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