Ohio Voters Deliver Big Win for Abortion Rights

57% reject measure that would have changed the ballot process
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2023 9:46 PM CDT
Ohio Voters Deliver a Big Win to Abortion Rights Supporters
People celebrate the defeat of Issue 1 during a watch party Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio voters have resoundingly rejected a Republican-backed measure that would have made it more difficult to pass abortion protections.   (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Ohio voters on Tuesday roundly rejected a Republican ballot measure that was widely seen as aiming to make it more difficult for an amendment enshrining abortion rights to someday be added to the state constitution. While Issue 1, which more than 57% of voters voted against, according to Decision Desk HQ, did not explicitly mention abortion rights, if it passed it would have, first of all, made it more difficult for citizen-initiated measures to even make their way onto the ballot, and, second, raised the threshold needed to pass a constitutional amendment from a simple majority to 60%. Initially expected to be "an under-the-radar, off-year summer special election," millions of dollars ended up being spent by both sides to bring attention to the vote, Politico reports.

The result, which was called just 30 minutes after polls closed, is being widely referred to as another example of the GOP being rebuked by voters on the issue of abortion rights. The headline Insider chose: "GOP attempt to stymie abortion in Ohio backfires spectacularly." The outlet paints the ballot measure as an attempt by Republicans to "get ahead of" a vote on whether to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution via an amendment, which is happening in November's election, the Columbus Dispatch reports. NBC News reports that polls have shown that 59% of Ohio voters support such an amendment. Ohio currently has a so-called "heartbeat" abortion ban, but the law has been temporarily blocked while the issue works its way through the courts. (More Ohio stories.)

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