CV NEWS FEED // An Ohio amendment proposing abortion as a constitutional right recently received enough signatures to be placed on November’s ballot.
The amendment seeks to establish abortion as an individual right under the Ohio Constitution, which has a section dedicated to “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety.”
The amendment would legalize abortion up to “viability,” when a preborn child can live outside the womb. Viability is usually at about 24 weeks, though it is getting earlier as medical technology develops.
The youngest recorded premature baby to survive outside the womb was 21 weeks old and holds a Guinness World Record.
The amendment defines “viability” as “when, in the professional judgment of the pregnant patient’s treating physician, the fetus has a significant likelihood of survival outside the uterus with reasonable measures. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.”
The amendment would grant determination of viability to the abortionist rather than holding to a universal standard.
After viability, the proposed amendment would always allow abortion if a patient’s doctor says that abortion is necessary for the life or health of the mother.
The proposed amendment would prevent the state from “directly or indirectly” penalizing or interfering with “an individual’s voluntary exercise of this right” to abortion.
Frank LaRose, the secretary of state, approved 495,938 of the 700,000 signatures received for the proposed ballot measure. This exceeded Ohio’s requirement for ballot measure proposals, which is 10% of the votes received for the office of governor in the previous election, with 413,446 signatures.
Following LaRose’s approval, Ohio will vote on abortion as a constitutional right in November.
However on August 8, Ohio is set to vote on Issue 1, which will increase the threshold to approve any amendment, including this one, from a simple majority to 60%. Therefore, if the initiative passes, it would be considerably harder to add a so-called “right to abortion” to the state constitution.
CatholicVote’s political team is currently on the ground supporting the “yes” campaign.