Pro-Abortion Ballot Initiative Ohio | Get the Latest Updates

 Pro-Abortion Ballot Initiative Garners Enough Signatures to Advance to Referendum in Ohio: Advocates

In a significant development for reproductive rights, a pro-abortion ballot initiative in Ohio has successfully gathered enough signatures to move forward to a referendum. This measure aims to declare abortion as a constitutional right in the state, with certain restrictions based on fetal viability. The proposal highlights the importance of individual autonomy in reproductive decisions, including contraception, fertility treatment, pregnancy continuation, miscarriage care, and abortion.

Pro-Abortion Ballot Initiative Ohio | Get the Latest Updates

Protecting Reproductive Choices

The ballot initiative seeks to ensure that every individual has the right to make and carry out their own reproductive decisions. It acknowledges the need to prohibit abortions after fetal viability, typically around 23 or 24 weeks of gestation, except when the pregnant patient's life or health is at risk. This nuanced approach strikes a balance between safeguarding women's well-being and preserving their autonomy in healthcare choices.

Grassroots Support and Signature Collection

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) played a pivotal role in directing the effort to collect signatures for the pro-abortion ballot initiative. Through their coordinated campaign, they have surpassed an impressive milestone of 700,000 signatures. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose will now verify the validity of these signatures to determine if the measure will proceed to a vote in the scheduled August 8 referendum.

Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom, the leaders of this grassroots movement, have confirmed that they have obtained enough signatures to bring the measure to the ballot. This achievement reflects the overwhelming support from the community and their determination to secure abortion access and reproductive freedom for all Ohioans.

Opposition and Concerns

As expected, the pro-life group Protect Women Ohio strongly opposes the measure, labeling it an "extreme anti-parent amendment." They argue that it would strip parents of their rights, potentially allowing minors to undergo sex-change operations without parental consent. Additionally, they express concerns about unrestricted abortion access throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

It's important to note that the proposed amendment doesn't include constitutional prohibitions on abortion but grants the legislature the authority to pass such restrictions. This provision anticipates the likelihood of future legislative actions regarding abortion regulations.

Legal Context and Background

Efforts to bring this ballot initiative to fruition began in March, following the Supreme Court's pivotal decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. The ruling returned the abortion issue to individual states, prompting Ohio to take action. Prior to this, Ohio had already passed a law in 2019, banning abortions after the detection of an embryonic heartbeat, typically around six weeks. However, ongoing litigation has left the state's abortion laws in limbo.

Critics' Concerns and Analysis

Critics of the pro-abortion ballot initiative have raised valid concerns about potential consequences and ambiguities within the text of the measure. One major concern centers around the ambiguity of the term "individual," as it doesn't differentiate between adults and minors. This lack of distinction has fueled worries that parental rights may be undermined, preventing parents from being involved in their underage daughters' abortion decisions.

In an op-ed for National Review, Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Campbell Severino and Frank J. Scaturro, a former special counsel to the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, argue that the measure's broad language could obliterate most limits on abortion and sex-change surgeries. They highlight the significance of the phrase "not limited to" within the measure, as it extends its scope to encompass any medical procedure related to the human reproductive system.

Furthermore, Severino and Scaturro express concerns about potential liability protections for non-physicians performing risky procedures, including sex-change operations and abortions. The measure's wording appears to provide a level of protection to anyone, regardless of their medical qualifications, who assists in performing the covered procedures.

A Bellwether Trial and Abortion Attitudes

If the pro-abortion ballot initiative successfully proceeds to a general vote later this year, it will serve as another critical trial regarding public attitudes on abortion. Previous referendums across the United States have yielded unexpected victories for abortion advocates, even in traditionally conservative states such as Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana.

The rejection of a constitutional amendment in Kansas, which aimed to declare that the Kansas Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion, and the subsequent rejection of a similar proposal in Kentucky, underscore the changing dynamics and shifting public opinion on abortion. Even in Montana, a proposal that sought to enforce criminal penalties for physicians who failed to take necessary measures to preserve a baby's life after surviving an abortion attempt was turned down by voters.

These outcomes have led Democrats to view abortion as a winning issue for their party, contrasting it with what they portray as Republican extremism on the topic. The upcoming referendum in Ohio will undoubtedly serve as a significant indicator of public sentiment and will be closely watched by strategists from both major parties as they prepare for the 2024 elections.


The pro-abortion ballot initiative in Ohio reaching the referendum stage represents a critical moment in the ongoing struggle for reproductive rights. With grassroots support and the backing of organizations like the ACLU, advocates aim to secure the constitutional recognition of abortion as a fundamental right while still allowing for certain restrictions based on fetal viability. However, the measure faces staunch opposition from pro-life groups who raise concerns about potential consequences and ambiguities in the proposed amendment. The outcome of the referendum will have significant implications for the future of abortion access and the broader debate surrounding reproductive freedom in Ohio.


Q: What is the pro-abortion ballot initiative in Ohio?

A: The pro-abortion ballot initiative in Ohio aims to declare abortion as a constitutional right in the state, with restrictions based on fetal viability.

Q: Who is supporting the pro-abortion ballot initiative?

A: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom are among the key supporters of the pro-abortion ballot initiative.

Q: What concerns have been raised by critics of the pro-abortion ballot initiative?

A: Critics have raised concerns about potential consequences, ambiguities in the measure's text, and its impact on parental rights and access to other medical procedures.

Q: How does the pro-abortion ballot initiative reflect changing attitudes on abortion?

A: The initiative serves as another trial of public sentiment on abortion, following unexpected victories for abortion advocates in referendums across the United States.

Q: What will the outcome of the referendum mean for reproductive rights in Ohio?

A: The outcome will determine whether abortion is recognized as a constitutional right in Ohio and will shape the future of abortion access and reproductive freedom in the state.