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Acorn Newsmagazine

Acorn Newsmagazine

The Student News Site of Royal Oak High School

Acorn Newsmagazine

Ohio Votes to Protect Reproductive Rights

Issue 1 Reproductive Freedom Ballot Initiative

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade claiming the framework surrounding its initial approval was “exceptionally weak”, “damaging” and “egregiously wrong”. The complainant used a false name, Jane Roe, to conceal her identity. She first filed a lawsuit against Dallas, Texas, district attorney Henry Wade. At the time, Texas state law only permitted abortions in cases
when the mother’s life was in danger. Roe had the operation by choice and not for a medical emergency for which she was legally charged. She brought the case to the Supreme Court in 1970 arguing that the Texas state law violated her right to privacy under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Her case was won in 1973, setting the precedent that abortions were federally legal as a part of patient-doctor confidentiality.

With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, abortion policies and reproductive rights are in the hands of each state. Since then states across the US have adjusted their abortion legislation. Despite the Supreme Court ruling abortion remains legal in the state of Michigan. The same cannot be said for all or even most of the US. It wasn’t until recently that abortion was deemed legal again in Ohio.

In 2019 Ohio, a six-week ban with no exceptions for rape or incest was passed and signed by Governor Mike DeWine. But it wasn’t until the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade that the sixth week ban was implemented in 2022.

A year later on November 7th 2023 Ohio voters passed the Issue 1 constitutional amendment protecting reproductive rights during their midterm elections. The amendment, brought by Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and other reproductive rights advocacy groups, will enshrine abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care, and continuing one’s own pregnancy into the Ohio Constitution and the citizens of Ohio voted “Yes” by 57%. Ohio was one of the only states to have a midterm election in November providing the opportunity for constitutional proposals to be put on the ballot.

President Joe Biden released a statement following Issue 1’s passage: “Ohioans and voters across the country rejected attempts by MAGA Republican elected officials to impose extreme abortion bans that put the health and lives of women in jeopardy, force women to travel hundreds of miles for care, and threaten to criminalize doctors and nurses for providing the health care that their patients need and that they are trained to provide.”

Ohio has long been a very red, republican-held, and morally conservative state. Given this voting history, many Americans including Social Justice teacher Brittney Laurent were surprised by the change in legislation. “This was a great example and reminder of how the government representatives of an entity do not always fully represent its populace,” and “is an excellent reminder of how powerful suffrage and voting is,” says Laurent.

There are still plenty of citizens not happy with the new changes in legislation and will continue to work towards “heartbeat bills”. Placing limits on the amount of time into a pregnancy at which a woman can have an abortion variations of the anti-abortion bills continue to gain support primarily from republican leaning states. Legislation regarding abortion access is ever changing as states like Ohio begin to put these proposals on their ballots for voters to decide.

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