May 18, 2022 - Politics

Ohio Dems pitch constitutional amendment on abortion rights

Protesters in front of the Ohio Statehouse.

Protesters at a "Ban Off Our Bodies" rally at the Ohio Statehouse. Photo: Courtney Hergesheimer/Columbus Dispatch/USA Today Network

Ohio Democrats are seeking a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Why it matters: The constitutional amendment would override Republican efforts to restrict abortion access and put the question before voters.

Details: The process requires three-fifths approval in both the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate before it gets to voters.

Between the lines: Democratic lawmakers concede this is a longshot effort, given the Republican supermajorities in both Statehouse chambers.

  • The hope is to rally support from activist organizations and gear up for the backup plan, a citizen-initiated amendment that bypasses the legislature.

Yes, but: That is a much more arduous route to the ballot box.

  • It would require organizers to gather more than 400,000 signed petitions from half of Ohio's 88 counties.

Catch up quick: Ohio does not have a trigger law in place to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is struck down, though there are active proposals to enact one.

  • A 2019 "Heartbeat Bill" prohibiting abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected was blocked from taking effect because of Roe.
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