Yet another red-state win for abortion rights:
Ohio voters approved a ballot measure enshrining a right to abortion in the State Constitution on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, continuing a series of wins for abortion-rights groups who have appealed directly to the public as they try to recover from the United States Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Issue 1, as the ballot measure is known, had become the country’s most-watched race in the off-year elections. Both parties are looking to gauge whether voter anger over the loss of the federal right to abortion might help Democrats in next year’s presidential and congressional races. National groups on both sides of the debate poured money into Ohio in recent weeks.
The victory in a conservative state is likely to help lift the hopes of abortion-rights groups pushing similar measures next year in red and purple states, including Arizona, South Dakota, Missouri and Florida.
“It’s not up to the government to decide what we do with our bodies,” said Alissa Carver, 26, who lives outside Cincinnati and describes herself as an independent voter. “It’s for us to decide, it’s our experience.”
As we celebrate a huge win, remember all of the ways in which Ohio Republicans tried to abrogate democracy to try to impose their unpopular barbarism on the state’s voters:
The abortion rights supporters have money, polls and the recent history of other red-state abortion proposals on their side; the opponents have various schemes of essentially legalized cheating on theirs.
Most recently, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) — who also happens to be challenging Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in 2024 — purged nearly 27,000 voters between an August election featuring a proposal he supported and this upcoming abortion one he opposes.
“Unlike previous purges that this office has conducted, this one occurred without their previous practice of publicizing the purge,” Kayla Griffin, Ohio state director of All Voting Is Local, said in a statement to the Ohio Capital Journal. “Because of this lack of usual notification, groups like All Voting is Local and our partners could not inform voters they may have been purged and would need to register to vote again before the voter registration deadline that was just 12 days later.”
In August, the Republican-dominated ballot board vetoed the proposed summary of the initiative to appear on the ballot in favor of one that was longer, omitted some key details and was permeated with anti-abortion language including “unborn child.” Backers of the abortion initiative went to the conservative state Supreme Court, but only got a partial victory as the majority allowed the anti-abortion rhetoric to remain.
Earlier that month, state Republicans forced a special election to raise the threshold for citizen-initiated ballot proposals to 60 percent from its simple majority and to significantly beef up the signature gathering requirements. Initiatives originating in the Republican-dominated legislature would have remained at the lower threshold.
The scheduling struck Ohioans as particularly rich, given that the legislature had passed a bill months earlier to remove typically low-turnout August elections from the state’s calendar.
“These unnecessary off-cycle elections aren’t good for taxpayers, election officials or the civic health of our state,” LaRose said in late 2022. “It’s time for them to go.”
Dobbs was about many things, but increased democratic contestation over abortion policy sure as hell isn’t one of them.