Ohio’s Abortion Ballot Question Puzzles Voters with Ambiguous Wording

(TargetDailyNews.com) – Abortion rights advocates in Ohio are struggling over the wording of a referendum that has voters confused over whether the initiative should be voted for or against. Volunteers have been attempting to inform voters about the measure, but have discovered that a combination of recycled names and clever wording by the Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose has made the issue murkier than your standard yes/no referendum.

A “yes” on the referendum, entitled Issue 1, would amend the Ohio constitution to include the right to “carry out one’s own reproductive decisions” which includes abortion. The amendment would also explicitly allow the ban of abortion after the baby is viable to survive outside the mother’s womb, or approximately 23 weeks. It includes an exception if the mother’s life or health is in danger.

The ballot lists several bullet points explaining the effects of the amendment. It’s been criticized as confusing and misleading. The ballot is available here so the curious reader can make up his or her mind.

A previous referendum from August was also labeled “Issue 1,” and in that vote, pro-abortion advocates were voting no. Now this time around, enshrining the abortion rights into the constitution requires a “yes” vote. Some abortion advocates still have signs up that say “vote no on Issue 1” from the previous vote.

The six-week abortion ban is still being contested by the state’s Supreme Court. The ban was active for 82 days in 2022 before a temporary injunction halted enforcement. A big kerfuffle was made surrounding an abortion for a 10-year-old who was raped. Ohio doctors refused to perform the procedure at the time, citing the new law. Anti-abortion activists said that the move was a political stunt for propaganda purposes as the law has an exception for victims of crime and mothers whose health is threatened by the pregnancy.

National activist organizations have dumped money into the election, highlighting the focus on Ohio as a test case for abortion’s viability with voters. In every ballot measure put to voters since Roe v Wade was overturned voters have approved more abortion rights than restrictions on the practice.

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