Ohioans voted against Amendment 1 in a Tuesday special election, which means that constitutional amendments still only need to pass with 50 percent plus 1. As a result, special interest groups from out-of-state will have a considerably easier time passing a pro-abortion ballot initiative this November. Had the amendment passed, it would have increased the voter approval threshold for constitutional amendments to 60 percent in order to pass.
The consequences are very real and could be fast approaching if the initiative, known as the Ohio Right to Make Reproductive Decisions Including Abortion Initiative, passes in just a few months time. As Townhall has covered, the initiative’s passage could have massive implications for parental rights.
As Spencer mentioned in May, referencing a March analysis from Carrie Severino and Frank Scaturro:
As Townhall reported earlier this year, Ohio voters will consider a radical constitutional amendment that its supporters claim is merely about repealing Ohio’s “heartbeat law” protecting unborn children from abortion. Instead, as legal experts warned at the time, the amendment goes “much further” than what its proponents claim, instead being a radical vehicle to prohibit “virtually any restrictions on abortion and all other procedures, including sex-change surgeries” that “would cancel out not only parental-consent laws but also mere parental notification for minors’ abortions or sex-change surgeries” and “strike down health protections for people of all ages who undergo these procedures.”
That is, the proposed amendment is as radical as they come, but it seems that’s the entire goal.
You see, while the amendment’s proponents might falsely claim that the measure would merely repeal the Buckeye State’s heartbeat law and would not impact the rights of Ohio parents, URGE has a clear track record of calling for parental rights — in general — to be fully “abolished,” a goal that would be met with Ohio’s proposed amendment.
Among several tweets from recent years, URGE shamelessly declared that “parental involvement laws are unethical and must be abolished,” apparently for the sake of every “pregnant person.”
It’s no surprise, then, that groups like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have their fingerprints all over this, especially since they’ve been vocally opposed to parental rights on such issues as abortion and so-called gender affirming care, which in reality involves sterilization and genital mutilation.
The results were called at 8:09pm by Decision Desk HQ. As of 10:03pm on Tuesday evemng, with an estimated 81percent of the vote in, the “No” side is ahead with 56.41 percent of the vote, while the “Yes” side has 43.59 percent of the vote.
Decision Desk HQ projects Ohio Issue 1 has been defeated.#DecisionMade: 8:09pm EST
Follow more results here: https://t.co/a5UfGjVDcx
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) August 9, 2023
Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is running in the Republican primary to replace Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, campaigned steadfastly in favor of amendment, as did pro-life groups.
LaRose was among those who participated in a debate arguing in favor of the amendment, and stressed concerns that the amendment’s failure would allow out-of-state groups to fund liberal initiatives.
BREAKING: As I predicted, new finance reports filed today show $11.5m pouring into OH from CA, VA, NY & DC to buy control of our state constitution. Tell them to take their radical agenda and go home by voting YES on Issue 1. https://t.co/wL4Y4O5gYA pic.twitter.com/AtEU78Xv6D
— Frank LaRose (@FrankLaRose) July 27, 2023
Of those groups in favor of the amendment, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America was among the quickest a statement about its failure. The statement was especially harsh on those who “sat on the sideline,” including “the silence of the establishment and business community” and even Republicans for their failure to act:
“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. Tragically, some sat on the sideline while outsider liberal groups poured millions into Ohio. A broad coalition of passionate pro-life Ohioans came together to fight parental rights opponents and try to take victory from the jaws of defeat. But the silence of the establishment and business community in Ohio left a vacuum too large to overcome. During this crucial election, progressives funneled in millions from outside groups to mislead the people of Ohio. Sadly, attacks on state constitutions are now the national playbook of the extreme pro-abortion Left. That is why everyone must take this threat seriously and recognize progressives will win if their opponents are scared into submission by the pro-abortion Left. So long as the Republicans and their supporters take the ostrich strategy and bury their heads in the sand, they will lose again and again.”
Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman aptly referred to the amendment’s failure as “a major victory for the pro-choice side.” He also discussed the issue in how it has to do with Brown’s win in 2018.
Brown, the only Democratic statewide elected official in Ohio other than Democratically-affiliated Supreme Court justices, is considered a particularly vulnerable incumbent as the state becomes increasingly red. Ohio is thus one of the top Senate races to watch in 2024 for a map that is already looking favorable to Republicans, especially when it comes to the seats Democrats have to defend.
As vulnerable as he is, however, many have pointed to how the results of Tuesday’s special election could fare well for Brown next November.
The final Ohio Issue 1 map could end up looking a lot like the ’18 Senate race map, where Sherrod Brown’s strength/religious conservatives’ weakness with blue-collar voters in eastern Ohio proved decisive.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) August 9, 2023