Issue 1, Part Two: Ohio Votes on Reproductive Freedom on November 7

Issue 1, part two, and if you’re feeling confused, critics claim that is on purpose.

Following the outcome of the August special election when voters rejected Issue 1, a legislative proposal from Republican lawmakers aimed at increasing the difficulty of amending the state’s constitution through citizen initiatives, another Issue 1, concerning reproductive rights, is slated to be on the ballot during the upcoming general election on November 7.

This November’s Issue 1, titled The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety, needs a simple majority to pass. The amendment aims to codify in the State of Ohio’s constitution an individual’s right to reproductive medical treatment, which includes abortion.

Several controversies have surrounded how the bill will appear on the ballot. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who has also placed a bid to be a 2024 Senate candidate, changed the bill’s original language on the ballot, including changing the medical term fetus to unborn child. 

Reproductive rights activists sued the state for the new language to be removed but were overruled by the Ohio Supreme Court, which allowed the language changes to move forward.

According to the ballot language, the following changes would be made if Issue 1 passes. You can read the entire proposed amendment here

  • Establish an individual’s right to their own reproductive medical treatment, including abortion, within the State of Ohio by amending the state’s constitution.
  • Provide legal protections to individuals and entities who assist in obtaining reproductive medical treatment, which encompasses abortion and related services.
  • Prohibit the state from imposing direct or indirect burdens, penalties, or prohibitions on abortion before the determination of the unborn child’s viability, unless the state can demonstrate that it is utilizing the least restrictive means.
  • Empower a pregnant woman’s treating physician to assess, on a case-by-case basis, whether the unborn child is viable.
  • Allow the State to restrict abortion only after a pregnant woman’s treating physician determines the unborn child is viable, and in cases where the physician believes the abortion is not necessary to protect the pregnant woman’s life or health.
  • Always permit abortion at any stage of pregnancy, regardless of viability, if the treating physician determines it is necessary to safeguard the pregnant woman’s life or health.

Reproductive and abortion rights hold significant importance within the Jewish community in Cincinnati, as evidenced by multiple community organizations endorsing the proposed abortion rights amendment for Ohio.

A Pew Research Center poll revealed that among Jewish respondents, 58 percent of those who identified as politically conservative, 85 percent of those who identified as politically moderate, and 94 percent of those who identified as liberal agreed that abortion should be legal. The Jewish community demonstrates a consensus in support of abortion rights.

Polls are open from 6:30 A.M. to 7:30 P.M. on November 7. Early voting at the Hamilton County Board of Elections is available until November 5, you can view the early voting schedule here.