Yesterday, Ohio’s Reproductive Freedom for “All” coalition announced plans to use the initiative process to put an amendment on the ballot to legally dehumanize the child in the womb under the Ohio constitution.
Path to the Ballot
Under Ohio’s initiative and referendum laws, citizens may place a constitutional amendment on the next general election ballot if they collect the signatures of registered voters equalling at least 10% of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election. Currently, that means the abortion industry has to collect approximately 413,000 valid signatures to make it on the ballot. Those signatures have to be turned in 125 days prior to the general election, but they don’t expire, which means that if the pro-abortion campaign doesn’t turn in the signatures by July 5, 2023, the campaign would not be able to be on the 2023 general election and would have to aim for the 2024 presidential election ballot.
The process to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot begins with the organizers of the amendment turning in 1,000 signatures along with the names of three to five people to represent the petitioners.
Along with signatures, proponents must file a copy of the proposed measure and a summary of that measure with the Ohio Attorney General. The AG then reviews the summary to ensure that it is fair and accurate, then he or she forwards the measure to the Ohio Ballot Board.
After the AG reviews the summary the Ballot Board determines whether the amendment is limited to a single subject and if so the proposed amendment is forwarded on to the Secretary of State to prepare a fiscal impact report. While the fiscal impact report is being prepared, the circulators may begin to collect signatures.
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists immediately released a statement criticizing the proposed amendment as an attack on women and their babies.
On the opposite side of the spectrum the coalition that is funding the effort, which will be closely linked to the Ohio Democrat party and Planned Parenthood, launched a glitzy public relations and fundraising campaign.
Following in Michigan’s Bloody Footsteps
A similarly worded constitutional amendment was approved by Michigan voters during the 2022 midterms and it is highly likely that the abortion activists will follow the same bloody path, counting on the full support of the media, out of state billionaires, and the Ohio Democrat party establishment.
In Michigan, the pro-abortion side received 75% of its funding from just twelve donors. Eleven of the twelve were from out of state, and almost all of them were billionaires.
Among the donors to the Michigan campaign, the two largest were George Soros and a disgraced crypto scammer acting as a proxy for FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried.
In California’s similarly worded ballot measure, the donors included an Indian casino angling for influence with the California Democrat party.
In neither case has the media bothered to point out the obvious connections of the abortion ballot measures to a handful of billionaires and dirty money. Instead, they have been widely reported as indicators that public opinion favors abortion.
Ohio AG Could Cut the Abortion Amendment Off at the Root
Unlike Michigan though, Ohio counts with a pro-life governor and a very pro-life attorney general.
During the initial process of review, the attorney general, who is none other than pro-life champion Dave Yost, could reject the amendment summary for lack of fairness or accuracy.
In fact, this may be the best possible time to stop the amendment, which otherwise will count with an almost insurmountable advantage of free earned media from the mainstream press, as well as untold millions from the abortion industry and the usual list of out-of-state billionaires.
Vague Wording and Pro-Abortion Assumptions
The Abortion Amendment misleadingly attempts to frame the ballot question without ever addressing the reality that abortion involves three unique individuals, a biological father, a mother and an unborn child. By referring to the child in the womb in vague and unscientific terms such as the product of reproduction or a pregnancy, the proposed amendment attempts to assert the “right” to end the life of the developing child without any meaningful reference to the child.
The proponents of the amendment are seeking to introduce it into the Ohio constitution as a new section, Section 22, of Article I of the Ohio Constitution. Ironically, Section 1 of Article I explicitly recognizes the inalienable right to life.
The title of the new section would be “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety.” The amendment does not include any protections for the reproductive rights of the father of the preborn child or of the preborn child herself. It also includes no protection for the health and safety of the preborn child.
The authors of the amendment dehumanize the preborn child by assuming that they cannot be considered individuals with their own individual rights, presupposing in effect that the child in the womb lacks personhood up to the moment of birth. They also make an arbitrary and vague distinction in allowing abortion after viability for reasons of “health”.
Not only has viability been proven to be an ever-changing point in gestation, but the term “health”, as a reason for abortion, has been interpreted so broadly that it essentially is a carte blanche to kill the child at any point.
In Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade, Justice Blackmun defined medical health reasons that would justify abortion in the following broad manner.
Whether, in the words of the Georgia statute, “an abortion is necessary” is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.Doe v. Bolton, United States Supreme Court, 1973
Dobbs v. Jackson overturned Roe and Doe, but that is not deterring the abortion industry and their political allies.
In Dobbs v. Jackson, the US Supreme Court clearly laid out the case against the viability standard, which the Ohio abortion amendment attempts to resurrect, as a vague and unworkable standard. The Supreme Court also made clear that abortion is different from contraception or issues of bodily autonomy because abortion involves what the court itself has often referred to as another “potential life.”
… rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed “potential life.” Therefore, a right to abortion cannot be justified by a purported analogy to the rights recognized in those other cases or by “appeals to a broader right to autonomy.”Dobbs v. Jackson, Page 71 of the majority opinion
As the Dobbs decision makes clear, contraception and abortion are two completely different subjects, which means that the abortion proponent’s language, which includes a guarantee of both abortion and contraception, violates the single subject rule.
Of course, not only is the abortion amendment in violation of the single subject rule, it also fails to have the necessary fairness and clarity required by law. That is because abortion inherently involves the right to life of another human being, which is notably absent from either the amendment’s text or the ballot summary. Abortion proponents, much like their allies in the media are seeking to stack the deck in the ballot measure by erasing the interests of the baby in the womb.
Ohio Supreme Court Precedent is Pro-Personhood
According to Ohio Supreme Court precedent prior to Roe v. Wade, the child in the womb should be considered a person in every way that would benefit him or her.
If the common law protects the rights of the unborn child and if every intendment in the law is favorable to him, the inference is inevitable that such unborn child is a person and possesses the rights that inhere in a person even though he is incapable himself to assert them.Williams v. Marion Rapid Transit Co., Ohio Supreme Court 1949
Based on the requirement for a fair and accurate ballot summary and the requirement that the ballot text encompass only a single subject, Ohio’s pro-abortion constitutional amendment may not make it on the ballot. If Attorney General Yost were to approve the ballot summary, which is doubtful, the measure could still be challenged by anyone seeking to keep the amendment off the ballot so long as the lawsuit is commenced a certain time prior to the vote.
American ProLifer will follow this case closely and continue to report on it.