Everybody knew that Ohio’s Issue 1 was a referendum on abortion and intimately tied to the November vote on a “Reproductive Freedom Amendment” that will enshrine abortion as a fundamental state right.
Yesterday, amidst record breaking turnout, 57% of Ohioans voted to make it possible for a simple majority to amend the Ohio constitution paving the way for Ohio to become a 100% pro-abortion state.
On its face, Issue 1 sought to keep special interest groups, like the abortion and anti-gun lobby, from easily amending the state constitution. There is a reason why constitutional amendments have traditionally required supermajorities. If the fundamental norms under which a society functions can be changed by a 50% vote, then democracy becomes nothing more than mob rule. The Founding Fathers knew this. That is why it is so difficult to amend the US Constitution, which requires two thirds of each house of congress and three fourths of the states to ratify an amendment to the US Constitution.
Yesterday, amidst the now all-too-common demand from the left to “defend democracy”, the major urban centers of Ohio carried the day and effectively institutionalized mob rule in Ohio in order to legalize the killing of preborn children.
I am sad to say that at this point, the November vote on the Ohio “Reproductive Freedom Amendment” appears to be nothing more than a formality.
Fundamental Rights Should Not be Left to a Popular Vote
Perhaps the greatest flaw of the Dobbs decision was that it pretended that the right to life of innocent preborn children could and should be determined by a vote of the people.
I wrote about this at length in an article on the pages of American ProLifer shortly after the Dobbs decision was handed down.
Just days after the US Supreme Court returned the regulation of abortion to the states, the White House, along with a host of pro-abortion lawyers, non-profit organizations, and a group of governors decided to mobilize and to fight with every tool at their disposal.
At the federal level, the Department of Justice began using the FBI to intimidate and arrest pro-life activists like Mark Houck and Paul Vaughn, while pushing easy access to the abortion pill and interstate abortion.
In leftist-controlled states like New York, Michigan and California, they passed extreme abortion legislation under the guise of libertine “Reproductive Freedom Amendments”. Simultaneously, the left clamped down on pregnancy resource centers through unconstitutional regulations while turning a blind eye to the hundreds of violent attacks upon these pro-life establishments.
In conservative states with leftist state courts like Kansas and South Carolina, they used the rigged state judiciary to establish state constitutional rights to abortion.
In Ohio, where neither the legislature nor the judiciary are controlled by the left, the abortion industry and the left used the ballot initiative, paying thousands of petition circulators to collect signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot where massive out-of-state funding disparities and media bias that favor the abortion industry.
While disguised as “reproductive freedom”, the clear legal purpose of the Ohio amendment, like the California, Michigan, Vermont is to relegate the preborn child, not just to second class citizenship, but to dehumanize and strip the child in the womb of any and all state constitutional rights.
To the left, reproductive freedom means that the child does not exist until after birth.
Weak Republican Politicians Unwilling to Fight Back
Faced with this barrage of ferocious attacks from the left, state Republican “pro-life” politicians like Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Attorney General Dave Yost didn’t just sit on the sidelines, they rubber stamped the left’s attacks on the right to life, choosing instead to virtue-signal about their commitment to impartiality while refusing to use the tools at their disposal to fight back.
The Ohio Constitution gives the Attorney General the power to determine whether a ballot initiative and ballot summary are “fair and truthful.” The Ohio Constitution also prohibits ballot initiatives “intended to mislead, deceive, or defraud voters.”
Clearly, an amendment that seeks to dehumanize the preborn child, stripping him or her of their very right to life by simply erasing their legal personhood under the law is neither fair nor truthful. An amendment that pretends to strip away the right to life of the preborn child without even contemplating the existence of a child is nothing if not misleading, deceptive and fraudulent.
Yet, instead of using his office to defend the sanctity of life, Yost used his power to lecture the people of Ohio about his duty of impartiality and his virtue as a public official.
Now that it is clear that the “Reproductive Freedom Amendment” will only need a simple majority to pass in November, pro-lifers can thank Dave Yost for having done his part to allow it to happen.
Elected office is not a license to simply do what one wishes. The rule of law necessarily means that there are limits to the decision-making of those who temporarily exercise public authority. This is true of prosecutors who will not enforce criminal statutes with which they disagree, or presidents who wish to take actions not authorized by the Constitution or Congress. It is also true of attorneys general required by a narrow law to make a decision about the truthfulness of a summary. My personal views on abortion are publicly known. In this matter, I am constrained by duty to rule upon a narrow question, not to use the authority of my office to effect a good policy, or to impede a bad one. A duty that never compels an unpleasant duty or act is not duty, but self-service, the opposite of public service—government by solipsism. That way lies chaos, and ultimately the breakdown of self-governance. I state these first principles because it has become increasingly common for elected leaders to ignore them when convenient, and the process is accelerating as each side in our perpetual conflicts expects their own to act as faithlessly as the other side. Enough. Letter from AG Dave Yost
Secretary of State Frank LaRose
Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank LaRose also washed his hands of any responsibility to stop the “Reproductive Rights Amendment.”
On March 13, 2023 Secretary of State LaRose chaired the Ballot Board hearing where Republicans would have another chance to stop the abortion lobby.
The Ohio Ballot Board is charged with determining whether a proposed amendment constitutes only one amendment to the Ohio Constitution. Ohio, for good reason, prohibits logrolling of different subject matters under one amendment in an attempt to pass unpopular measures by attaching them to popular ones.
The Reproductive Rights Amendment includes the “rights” to abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care, and oddly enough the unnecessarily enumerated “right” to continue with one’s own pregnancy. By definition the right to abortion and the right to continue with one’s own pregnancy are polar opposites and should never be considered one amendment, neither should the right to contraception, which implies preventing conception, and abortion which involves the right to life of a second human being.
Unfortunately, the “pro-life” secretary of state did not care to make any examination whatsoever of the text of the amendment. Instead, like the Attorney General he issued a milk toast statement about the amendment involving “deeply held beliefs” to be decided exclusively by the people of Ohio. Given the fact that his disclaimer was followed by absolutely no examination of the text of the proposed amendment, one can’t help but wonder whose deeply held beliefs Secretary LaRose represents, certainly not those of pro-lifers who wish to see the right to life of innocent human babies defended.
LaRose and Yost Must be Held Accountable
After the defeat of Issue 1, Frank LaRose and Dave Yost both made attempts to morph themselves into the great defenders of the right to life.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose is running for US Senate now, and unbelievably, he is portraying himself as a “battle-tested conservative.”
He certainly did nothing to battle the pro-abortion lobby when he had the chance to do so when they were before his Ballot Board in March. If he rolled out the red carpet to the abortion industry while Secretary of State in Ohio, can you imagine him behind the smoke filled rooms in Washington DC?
Please do watch the video above of the Ballot Board and determine whether Frank LaRose is the type of man Ohio wants to send to Washington DC or to any elected office for that matter.
Meanwhile, Dave Yost published a picture of himself voting Yes on Issue 1. Again, the Attorney General, when he had a chance to make a legal case against the abortion lobby not only sat on the sidelines but decided to lecture pro-lifers on the virtues of sitting on the sidelines. Please remember this if you live in Ohio when the 2026 election rolls around.