This article was last updated Nov. 8 at 12:49 a.m. EST.
(LifeSiteNews) — Ohio’s radical ballot measure to enshrine abortion into the state constitution passed by a wide margin on Tuesday despite strong opposition from pro-life advocates. The passage of Ohio’s Issue 1 makes the Buckeye State one of the most pro-abortion in the country alongside left-wing strongholds like California and Vermont.
Following a massive pro-abortion campaign funded largely by out-of-state lobby groups – which included the use of Catholic imagery to promote the radical abortion measure – and the failure of a previous ballot initiative intended to strengthen the state constitutional amendment process, Ohio voters opted to pass Issue 1 on Tuesday night, making Ohio one of the most dangerous places in the U.S. for preborn babies.
With 96 percent of votes counted, the amendment had passed by a 56%-44% margin.
The pro-abortion measure, Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety Amendment, was drafted by the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and backed by the Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights (OPRR) advocacy arm Protect Choice Ohio (PCO).
It will amend Article I of the Ohio state constitution to guarantee that “[e]very individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care and abortion.” Existing Ohio law makes abortion legal until 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Under the language of the amendment, the state is directed not to “burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against” the “right” to abortion.
Restrictions on abortion would still be technically permissible post-“viability,” though physicians are given the authority to decide viability “on a case-by-case basis.” Moreover, abortions up to birth are protected under the amendment if deemed necessary to protect the mother’s life or heath, a standard that can be stretched to include a mother’s mental and emotional well-being in order to justify elective abortion. Pro-lifers point out that the deliberate killing of a preborn baby is never medically necessary.
“Our hearts are broken tonight not because we lost an election, but because Ohio families, women and children will bear the brunt of this vote,” Protect Women Ohio said in a Tuesday night statement on X. The group said the vote “does not represent Ohio values,” pointing out that “It took $35 million in out-of-state funding and ads filled with fear and deceit to push through the most radical abortion agenda in the country.”
“The passing of Issue 1 is a heartbreaking loss for families and the unborn in our state. Not only have parent’s rights been taken away to know if their minor child is making a life altering reproductive decision, but children in the womb are now in danger of death by abortion through all nine months of pregnancy,” Ohio Right to Life said in a Wednesday statement shared with LifeSiteNews, thanking their partners, including U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance, Gov. Mike DeWine, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and the Catholic Conference of Ohio.
“We will never tire in our resolve to defend the innocent so Ohio will be a state that cherishes life, both born and unborn,” the pro-life group said.
Ohio Right to Life has called Issue 1 “the most dangerous initiative in Ohio history,” noting that it will “allow for painful late-term abortion in Ohio through all nine months of pregnancy.”
The pro-life organization noted that the amendment “will enshrine abortion until birth, with zero restrictions, into Ohio’s constitution.”
“The seriousness of this ballot initiative cannot be overstated,” they continued, explaining that the amendment will mean that “Ohio’s legislature could not pass any future laws to protect the preborn” and that the “abortion issue would be ripped out of our hands permanently.”
In addition to explicitly prohibiting protections for unborn babies and barring parents from being involved if their minor daughter is seeking an abortion, the law could also leave gender-confused children vulnerable to being sterilized and mutilated with irreversible gender interventions.
Critics have warned that the language of the legislation could threaten parental rights with regard to children suffering gender dysphoria, forcing them to allow children to receive puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, breast removal, or genital transformation surgeries because “gender identity” could be construed as relating to reproduction.
The extreme language has led Catholics and other pro-life advocates to come out forcefully against the measure.
John Hinshaw and Will Goodman, pro-life advocates who are currently incarcerated in Washington, D.C., for their involvement in a 2020 “rescue” effort at a notorious late-term abortion facility, shared a letter with LifeSiteNews urging Ohio voters to reject the ballot initiative and protect the preborn.
And Hinshaw and Goodman are far from alone.
Father Patrick Schultz, parochial vicar at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Wadsworth, Ohio, previously blasted the initiative as “demonic” and drew parallels between the “ancient pagan world” and the modern-day U.S., arguing that Planned Parenthood abortionists are equivalent to “Moloch’s priests.”
Another Ohio priest, Father Daniel Dury called the measure “extreme” and “radical,” and urged Catholics to pray, fast, get out the word, and vote against it.
Just last month, clergymen representing 171 religious congregations in Ohio signed onto a joint letter urging voters to reject the proposal.
Since the landmark pro-life victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022 that reversed nearly 50 years of radical federal abortion precedent established in Roe v. Wade, pro-life advocates have experienced a patchwork of victories and defeats at the state level.
While states like Texas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Kentucky have passed extensive pro-life laws to prohibit nearly all abortions statewide, and other states like Florida, North Carolina, and Nebraska have implemented partial abortion restrictions based on gestational age, other states like California, Oregon, New York, and New Mexico have moved in the opposite direction.
While some laws have benefited the pro-life cause and are predicted to save many babies, pro-life advocates have suffered a series of defeats with ballot measures to either enshrine abortion in the state constitution or create a constitutional protection for the unborn.
Voters in California, Vermont, and Michigan approved measures in 2022 enshrining abortion in their state constitutions. Meanwhile, opposite measures in Kentucky and Kansas to clarify that those states’ constitutions contain no right to abortion, and a Montana measure to protect infants born after botched abortions, all failed at the ballot box.