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Ohio Voters Approve Pro-Abortion Amendment To State Constitution

November 8, 2023

Ohio voters have approved an amendment to the state constitution making abortion legal through fetal viability, which state law says is around 22 to 24 weeks.

The amendment passed Tuesday by 57 to 43 percent, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

The new amendment effectively overturns a so-called heartbeat bill banning abortions after 6 weeks, which the state enacted in 2019 and which briefly took effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. A state judge in September 2022 blocked the heartbeat bill from being enforced, so abortions in Ohio have continued to remain legal through about 22 weeks into pregnancy.

While abortion is now explicitly legal in Ohio for any reason into or through the second trimester, it also may be legal later than that in many circumstances.

The new state constitutional amendment, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, would “Always allow an unborn child to be aborted at any stage of pregnancy, regardless of viability[,] if, in the treating physician’s determination, the abortion is necessary to protect the pregnant woman’s life of health.”

Since June 2022, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a majority of voters have picked the pro-abortion side in every state where a ballot question directly affected abortion.

Ohio is the seventh state where that has happened. The others are Democratic-leaning states California and Vermont, the battleground state of Michigan, and Republican-leaning states Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana.

Abortion supporters say voters generally support wide access to abortion, and that the pro-life message is a loser for Republicans.

Abortion opponents say deeper-pocketed pro-abortion supporters have dominated political advertising in each state and have capitalized on the help of sympathetic mainstream media to spread their message.


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