Abortion (and democracy) is on the ballot in Ohio. We need you and other Ohio freethinkers to show up for both this summer.
The overwhelming majority of Americans support abortion. (And atheists, agnostics and religiously unaffiliated “Nones” are the most supportive of abortion.) That’s why anti-abortion politicians are scrambling to ban abortion without their constituents’ input. And they are thwarting democracy in the process.
Earlier this year, Ohio Republicans banned August special elections, claiming they were expensive and had low voter turnout. But just last month they nevertheless decided to schedule an August special election to amend the state constitution to make it harder to pass ballot initiatives. Their motive? To thwart an abortion rights initiative sponsored by Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights expected to go on the November ballot.
Currently a simple majority is required to pass state constitutional amendments. However, the August special election ballot measure would raise that standard to 60 percent, making it harder for supporters of abortion rights to gain the necessary votes. (Polls show 59 percent of Ohioans support a constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion rights as a fundamental right.) Other states that have protected abortion rights via ballot initiative have not cleared 60 percent.
Meanwhile anti-abortion factions are on a mission to spread misinformation about the August ballot measure. A leaked letter from state Rep. Brian Stewart showed that the measure is intended to sabotage the pro-choice abortion initiative in November. Others are erroneously claiming that a constitutional amendment to protect abortion in Ohio would allow abortion up until birth. They have also launched a $5 million campaign lying to voters that the abortion rights amendment would allow minors to have “sex change” surgery without parental consent.
The truth is that “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety” would allow Ohioans to legally access abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care or continue a pregnancy. This is basic comprehensive health care that nobody should be denied, but too many are because of Christian nationalist lies and deceit. That’s why it is so important for Ohio freethinkers to show up for abortion.
The courts have blocked a six-week ban on abortion care in Ohio for now, but the only way to secure abortion rights in your state is to enshrine it into the state constitution. That’s why Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights are seeking to amend the constitution to say (in part): “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions.” The groups just have until Wednesday, July 5 to get 413,000 valid signatures to get the amendment on the ballot.
FFRF Action Fund, the lobbying arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, calls on Ohio freethinkers to take two actions:
- Sign the initiative petition to add the “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety” on the November ballot, if you haven’t already. Share widely with your networks. Learn more here.
- Make sure you’re registered to vote in the August 8 election and be sure to vote NO on Ohio Issue 1, “60% Vote Requirement to Approve Constitutional Amendments Measure.” Learn more here.
- And of course, plan to vote YES and help get out the vote on November 8 for the Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety” measure that with your help will be on the ballot.
The only organized opposition to abortion rights is Christian nationalist or religious in nature. This saga in Ohio is a blatant attempt to grab power to further erode human rights and health care. Please help ensure that the separation between state and church and reproductive liberty are protected in the upcoming state election.