Ohio vote results in victory for advocates of abortion rights.
Ohio has denied a Republican proposal aimed at increasing the difficulty of amending the state’s constitution, which is viewed as a setback for anti-abortion organizations.
The state legislature, under Republican control, had sought to raise the threshold for constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60%. This was widely perceived as an effort to thwart a proposed referendum seeking to enshrine abortion rights in the Constitution.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision as a triumph for both democracy and women. Mr. Biden criticized the Republican-backed initiative, stating that it was a clear attempt to diminish the influence of voters and further restrict women’s autonomy in making their own healthcare choices.
When the US Supreme Court ended the nationwide right of women to have an abortion a year ago, a ban on the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy came into effect in Ohio – although it is currently on hold following a legal challenge.
Pro-choice groups in Ohio are planning on using November’s elections to reverse this, by getting the right to have an abortion enshrined into the midwestern state’s constitution.
The measure being voted on, called Issue 1, was rejected by a margin of 57% to 43% with nearly all voting precincts tallied by Wednesday morning.
A campaign group One Person, One Vote told Politico in a statement that Issue 1 was a “deceptive power grab designed to silence” the voice of voters.
Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters told the Columbus Dispatch that the result is “a victory for the kind of state we want to see”.
More than 600,000 submitted early ballots on the issue – a historically high turnout for August elections in the state.
So was the vote on Issue 1 about protecting the constitution, as its supporters claim, or was it really about abortion?