Ohio voters rejected in a referendum the choice to increase the majority needed to amend the state constitution to 60%. Issue 1, as the initiative was named, also contemplated tightening the requirements for residents to submit legislative initiatives. With 57% of the votes against, this result leaves open the fight for abortion in the state.
When it’s a worthy cause, and this certainly is, it’s better to have fought and lost than never fought at all.
My statement on Issue 1: pic.twitter.com/Va9T7iGYMz
— Frank LaRose (@FrankLaRose) August 9, 2023
The vote on Issue 1 turned into an arm wrestle between Republicans and pro-life groups, who championed the proposal, and Democrats and pro-abortion groups, who opposed it. The changes about which the population was questioned were intended to make it more difficult to modify the state's constitution by increasing the number from a simple majority, to 60% of the votes required to approve changes. It also increased the complexity for the citizens' initiative to propose amendments, going from requiring 5% of signatures from the inhabitants of 44 counties to requiring signatures from 88 counties.
"They will see the devastating effect of their vote soon enough"
Ohio Republican Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, the primary driver of the vote, lamented the final result and warned that "Ohioans will see the devastating impact of their vote soon enough." LaRose cited several of the initiatives that opponents of his proposal will be presenting in the near future that will affect all levels:
The radicals activist that opposed Issue 1 are already planning amendments to shut parents out of a child's life-altering medical procedure, force job killing wage mandates on small businesses, prevent law abiding citizens from protecting their families and remove critical protections to our first responders. I've said for months now that there's and assault coming on our constitution, and that hasn't changed.
Biden applauds Ohio result
The President Biden was quick to applaud the result, noting that "tonight democracy won" over a measure that "was a blatant attempt to weaken voters' voices and further erode the freedom of women to make their own health care decisions."
Today, Ohio voters rejected an effort by Republican lawmakers and special interests to change the state’s constitutional amendment process.
This measure was a blatant attempt to weaken voters’ voices and further erode the freedom of women to make their own health care…
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 9, 2023
Pro-lifers criticize "ostrich strategy"
Pro-life associations were particularly critical of the results, denouncing that the state authorities had used "the ostrich strategy and buried their heads in the sand" while "millions of dollars and liberal dark money flooded Ohio to ensure they have a path to buy their extreme policies in a pro-life state."
SBA Statement on Ohio Issue 1
“It is a sad day for Ohio and a warning for pro-life states across the nation. Millions of dollars and liberal dark money flooded Ohio to ensure they have a path to buy their extreme policies in a pro-life state."
— SBA Pro-Life America (@sbaprolife) August 9, 2023
In November, citizens are called to the polls to vote for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution by pro-abortion groups "to defend reproductive rights." The proposals contained in the initiative are described as "radical" by SBA Prolife, which warns that the rule could limit parental rights, would eliminate the need for parental consent for minors to have abortions or undergo sex change procedures and would allow abortion "on demand."