Aug 8, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Ohio's special election has big implications for abortion rights

Data: Axios research; Graphic: Simran Parwani and Natalie Peeples/Axios

Ohio's special election on Tuesday could raise the threshold for voters to amend the state Constitution, making it harder for Ohioans to pass an amendment on abortion rights this fall.

Why it matters: Republican state legislators and proponents of Issue 1 have publicly and privately acknowledged that the election was designed to preempt a planned referendum that would enshrine abortion rights in the state Constitution.

Zoom in: Issue 1 would raise the threshold for passing future ballot measures to amend the Ohio Consitution from a simple majority to 60% of voters.

  • It would also require those seeking to place constitutional amendments on the ballot to collect signatures from voters in all 88 Ohio counties, as opposed to only half starting in 2024.

Between the lines: The constitutional amendment to protect abortion access planned for November would guarantee a person's right to an abortion and other reproductive care up until fetal viability, Axios Columbus' Tyler Buchanan reports.

  • The amendment would also allow an abortion later if a doctor believes a pregnant patient's life is in danger.

By the numbers: The requirement for 60% of votes is a threshold other abortion proposals have not cleared.

  • If Issue 1 passes, Ohio abortion rights supporters will need more support than similar recent ballot initiatives have gotten in Kansas (59%), Kentucky (53%) and Michigan (56%), per Axios Columbus.

Go deeper: Ohio gears up for 2 contentious elections in 2023

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