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COLUMBUS, Ohio (ChurchMilitant.com) - Ohio voters will officially decide this fall whether abortion will be enshrined in the state's Constitution.
State officials confirmed on Tuesday that a proposed constitutional amendment will be on this November's ballot after a petition for the ballot measure received enough signatures.
Kate Makra, the executive director of Cleveland Right to Life, told Church Militant:
We are disappointed but not surprised that the pro-death, anti-parent initiative will be on the ballot in November. The ACLU, Planned Parenthood and other radical groups poured their seemingly limitless resources into flying people in from out-of-state and paying them handsomely to gather signatures. Our volunteers were out as well, and they witnessed numerous occasions during which the petitioners either misrepresented or outright lied about the proposed ballot language.
So, we fight on. Pro-life activists in Ohio have joined together and will continue to do everything possible to warn Ohioans about the implications of this vile amendment, which would legalize painful, late-term abortion until birth, permit minors to undergo abortions and sex change procedures without their parents' knowledge or consent and remove health and safety protections for women. We believe Ohio is a pro-life state, and we will do everything we can to keep it that way.
Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights reportedly sent in more than 700,000 total signatures, far exceeding the 413,446 needed to get on the ballot.
Protect Women Ohio, a coalition formed to oppose the ballot measure, is calling into question the merits of the numbers.
"The ACLU's extreme anti-parent amendment is so unpopular that they couldn't even rely on grassroots support to collect signatures. The ACLU paid out-of-state signature collectors to lie to Ohioans about their dangerous amendment," asserted PWO's press secretary, Amy Natoce. "The ACLU's attempts to hijack Ohio's Constitution to further its own radical agenda would be pathetic if it wasn't so dangerous."
Speaking of the gravity of the potential amendment, Natoce proclaimed, "The extreme amendment places parental rights on the chopping block. ... PWO will continue to shine a light on the ACLU's disastrous agenda until it is defeated in November."
The amount of support needed to pass the amendment has yet to be determined, as Ohio will hold a special election on Aug. 8. "Issue 1" will determine whether constitutional amendments require a simple majority or a 60% vote to pass.
Makra also relayed to Church Militant that Cleveland Right to Life is "doing everything we can to see that Issue 1 passes in August."
In a July 25 debate on Issue 1, Ohio's Republican secretary of state, Frank LaRose, said in support, "When it comes to the Constitution, you don't want a simple majority to be able to change the foundational document. I would ask my colleagues down here if they would support changing the federal Constitution to allow 50% of the states to amend it."
We wouldn’t let our US Constitution be changed by a simple majority.— Frank LaRose (@FrankLaRose) July 26, 2023
Don’t let the radical left California our Ohio. Vote YES on Issue 1! pic.twitter.com/zamplndBFw
"That would be a foolish idea," LaRose continued. "It would result in chaos and we wouldn't want to see the U.S. Constitution changing on a year-by-year basis."
The bishops of the Catholic Conference of Ohio "do not have a position on Issue 1," claiming the proposal "does not have moral content."
The Ohio bishops did, however, in February, release the following statement on the possible abortion amendment:
The Church must not be silent and cannot remain on the sidelines when confronted with such a clear threat to human life. This proposal demands a response, and we strongly encourage Catholics and all people of good will in Ohio to work against including the proposed amendment for the November ballot and, if it appears on the ballot, vote against the amendment to prevent countless deaths of preborn, innocent children.
Currently, abortion is legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks of gestation. In 2019, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a heartbeat bill, but the law is currently not in effect due to a judge's September 2022 injunction. The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case over the six-week ban.
Pro-Lifers are concerned because all post-Roe U.S. ballot initiatives dealing directly with abortion have resulted in pro-life defeats.
Peter Range, CEO of Ohio Right to Life, admitted to Church Militant in March that the pro-life movement was not initially prepared for what would come after the Supreme Court's overthrow of Roe v. Wade. "The Left was very prepared for Roe v. Wade to fall, and you see that now with these ballot initiatives they're pushing in each and every state."
Last year, the Culture of Death produced wins in Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, California, Vermont and Kansas.
It remains to be seen if pro-lifers will be able to devise a winning strategy to combat the neo-Marxist Left, with Maryland and New York also set to vote on abortion ballot initiatives in 2024, with other states hot on their heels.