Aug 10, 2023 - News

What Issue 1's rejection means for Ohio's November election

A woman holds a "protect safe, legal abortion" sign in her hands.

The fight over abortion rights in Ohio moves to November. Photo: Megan Jelinger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Abortion opponents have lost the battle — and they may lose the war.

Why it matters: Many viewed Issue 1 as Republican lawmakers' attempt to stop a proposed abortion rights amendment from passing in November's general election.

  • The margin of Tuesday's vote (57% to 43%) is nearly identical to last month's Suffolk University and USA Today poll showing 58% of likely Ohio voters support an abortion rights amendment.

What they're saying: "With Issue 1, Republicans tried to get Ohio voters to vote away their own power," Kimberly Inez McGuire, executive director of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, tells Axios. "I'm thrilled people came out in droves to say that democracy matters, and it matters to us."

Between the lines: Issue 1 generated a higher-than-expected turnout Tuesday.

  • "It has kind of jump-started their organizational efforts and clarified their messaging, months ahead of that election," Christopher Devine, associate professor of political science at the University of Dayton, tells Axios.
  • "Come November, we might see this as something that really helped to rally pro-choice voters."

The other side: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who has vehemently supported Issue 1, issued a statement calling Tuesday's vote "only one battle in a long war."

  • "Ohioans will see the devastating impact of this vote soon enough."

The bottom line: The rejection of Issue 1 is a huge win for supporters of Ohio's proposed abortion rights amendment and leaves opponents scrambling to avoid a similar result in November.


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