By: Brittany Bernstein – nationalreview.com –
Ohio voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday night that will effectively outlaw any restrictions on abortion and other procedures that involve reproduction, including gender-transition surgeries.
The measure, known as Issue 1, will also remove parental-consent and notification requirements for minors who undergo the procedures.
The amendment includes vague language about prohibiting any law that “directly or indirectly” would “burden” or “interfere” with “reproductive decisions.” Opponents of the measure argue it would also outlaw nearly any restrictions on abortion or other reproduction-related procedures, removing requirements for parental-consent and parental notification, as well as protections for people who undergo the procedures, including requirements that a qualified physician perform them.
The amendment would also pave the way for taxpayer-funded abortion due to the vague language banning laws that would “burden” reproductive decisions, which could extend to one’s inability to pay for an abortion. In that case, it would become a public responsibility to overcome this burden.
Opponents warn the overly broad use of the phrase “reproductive decisions” would mean the measure would very likely extend to gender-transition treatment. The proposal does not distinguish between minors and adults, either.
The “yes” vote in favor of the amendment was winning 56.4 percent to 43.6 percent with an estimated 53 percent of the vote counted on Tuesday evening, according to the New York Times. The Associated Press called the race in favor of the “yes” vote just after 9 p.m.
The amendment was written by the ACLU, which has spent years fighting to remove parental involvement from abortion and gender-transition procedures. The group says on its website that parental consent and notification laws restrict “teenagers’ access to abortion.” In 2016, the ACLU sided with Planned Parenthood in an Alaska lawsuit that aimed to overturn parental-notification laws in the state. One year later, the ACLU argued that parental consent laws in Indiana created an “unconstitutional undue burden.” The group is currently campaigning for a constitutional amendment in Oregon that would allow children to get an abortion without parental knowledge.
ACLU of Ohio attorney Jessie Hill was straightforward with reporters about the Ohio proposal’s intent, saying it would “mean that laws that conflict with it cannot be enforced, should not be enforced,” including existing laws on parental consent.
Days before the election, Ohio governor Mike DeWine called the measure “a radical proposal,” saying, “whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life, it just goes much, much too far.”
“It would enshrine in our Constitution the right to have an abortion up until birth, any time during the pregnancy,” he said. “Second thing it would do is threaten a law we had on the books for many years requiring parental consent if we’re dealing with a minor. The lawyers who wrote this were mindful for what they were doing. It is a radical proposal that does not fit Ohio.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, previously warned that the amendment is “dangerous for the women and children of Ohio.”
“It removes parents from some of their minor children’s most important health decisions such as parental notification before an abortion,” she added. “It would eliminate basic health and safety standards for women. And it would permit late term abortion after the baby can feel pain and even right up until birth.”
Democrats went all-in on abortion this cycle, banking on it being a winning issue more than a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The party’s focus on abortion will serve as a test run of how successful the issue might be for Democrats next year, a major election year.
Ohio voters also approved a ballot measure to legalize the sale of marijuana to people 21 and over, and permit growing the plant as a cash crop, CNN projected on Tuesday evening. Any person of legal age will be able to grow up to six plants at home and marijuana sales will be taxed at 10 percent.
The two ballot measures come up for a vote months after Ohio voters rejected a measure that would have increased the threshold required to pass a constitutional amendment.
Ohio has used a simple-majority requirement since 1912, but the measure, which came up for a vote in August, would have bumped the threshold up to 60 percent. The “no” choice to keep the simple-majority threshold under current law won with 57 percent of the vote.
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