Republican lawmakers promise the battle of abortion rights in Ohio is not over, despite a significant win for supporters in Tuesday’s general election.
Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, said another ballot issue could be on the horizon to repeal abortion rights, while House Speaker Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, said the Legislature has steps it can take to stop abortion.
“As a 100% pro-life conservative, I remain steadfastly committed to protecting life, and that commitment is unwavering,” Stephens said. “The Legislature has multiple paths that we will explore to continue to protect innocent life. This is not the end of the conversation.”
The amendment, which easily passed Tuesday 57%-43%, takes effect in 30 days. It not only enshrines abortion rights in the state constitution but also the right to make reproductive decisions and carry out those decisions, including those about birth control, fertility treatments and miscarriage.
It passed in 25 of Ohio’s 88 counties. By comparison, President Joe Biden, a Democrat, only won seven counties in the 2022 presidential election. Nearly 3.9 million of the state’s almost 8 million registered voters cast a ballot Tuesday.
The Ohio Minority Caucus said passage keeps medical decisions between health care professionals and their patients, not the state.
“As state representatives, medical professionals, and mothers, we believe all individuals should be trusted to make their own health care decisions and consult their physicians, family, and faith to make a choice that best fits their situation,” Reps. Anita Somani, D-Dublin, Rachel Baker, D-Cincinnati, and Beth Liston, D-Worthington, said in a joint statement. “The passage of Issue 1 protects these choices without the state getting involved and allows providers like us to continue the work of improving our healthcare system, so no patient goes without the care they need.”
The Legislature, 67-32 Republicans in the House and 26-7 in the Senate, cannot take direct action to modify or repeal the amendment. Still, it could pass another proposed constitutional amendment in the coming weeks, hoping to put the question before voters again in the spring.
March 19 is the primary date for the 2024 election cycle.
“Life is worth fighting for,” Huffman said in a statement. “This isn’t the end. It is really just the beginning of a revolving door of ballot campaigns to repeal or replace Issue 1.”