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Ballot Board adopts language for abortion-related initiative

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The Ohio Ballot Board approved the ballot title for a citizen-initiated measure to provide a state constitutional right to abortion and other reproductive matters.

The initiated constitutional amendment will be on the ballot as Issue 1 on Nov. 7.

The Ohio Ballot Board voted 3-2 to reject including the entire text of the amendment on the ballot and instead adopted language from Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

The language that voters will see on the ballot uses different words than the constitutional amendment, such as using unborn child instead of fetus. The constitutional amendment would provide that “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including” decisions about abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care, and continuing pregnancy. The ballot question includes reference to abortion but not other reproductive matters.

LaRose said, “Having worked extensively on drafting this, I do believe it’s fair and accurate.”

Lauren Blauvelt, vice president of Government Affairs and Public Advocacy for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said, “The entire summary is really propaganda and we are going to talk about all of the reasons why Ohio voters should just be able to see the language for what it is.”

Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, the coalition leading the support campaign, requested that the entire text of the amendment be included on the ballot.

Attorney Donald McTigue, who represented petitioners, said, “By using the full text, voters will see for themselves the language they are being asked to approve and can make a free and independent decision on this fundamental question.”

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, which opposes Issue 1, said, “Any litigation filed on this is going to be thrown out by the Ohio Supreme Court because the statutory responsibility of the Ballot Board is to provide a fair and accurate representation. That’s what the law requires, and that’s what they did today.”

The citizen-initiated constitutional amendment is titled Issue 1, which was also the title for the constitutional amendment that initiative supporters opposed in August.

The Ohio Ballot Board also approved a ballot title for Issue 2, an initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, on Aug. 25.

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