Obama urges Ohio voters to support pro-abortion ballot issue

October 22, 2023

In his latest entry into the political fray, former President Barack Obama posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) to encourage Ohio residents to cast their votes for Issue 1, a proposed pro-abortion constitutional amendment, as Cleveland.com reported.

Though it is relatively rare for Obama to take such an active role in a state-level issue campaign, Democrats suspect that abortion could be an issue in the 2024 cycle that prevents substantial Republican wins and have therefore enlisted his influence in support of the measure.

Obama wades in

In his online message to voters in the Buckeye State, Obama began, “Ohio, there's an important election happening right now.”

“If you want to protect abortion rights by making them part of your state Constitution, vote yes on Issue 1,” he added.

The former president also added a link to the state Democratic Party's website, where voters could find additional information on the measure.

Amendment in the balance

According to Ballotpedia, if approved, Issue 1 would establish a constitutional right under Ohio's state constitution to “make and carry out one's own reproductive decisions about abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care, and continuing pregnancy.”

The amendment would permit the state to limit abortion access after fetal viability is reached, and that term is defined in the proposal as “the point in a pregnancy 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,” unless it is determined that an abortion “is necessary to protect the pregnant patient's life or health.”

In Ohio, a simple majority is required for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment to pass.

Notably, back in August, Issue 1 was rejected by voters when it would have required 60% of the vote for passage.

DeWine fights back

As Obama makes the Democrats' case to Ohio voters, the state's Republican governor, Mike DeWine, is also making his position on the issue known to all, as the New York Post explains.

DeWine's feelings on the matter are so strong that he ran his first-ever advertisement concerning a state ballot initiative in order to outline why he does not believe the measure is in line with most Ohioans' wishes.

According to the governor, the proposal “would allow abortion at any point in the pregnancy. It would negate Ohio's law that we've had on the books for many, many years that prohibits partial-birth abortion.”

DeWine further argued that the proposal would “put Ohio in a small category of the most permissive states in the union in regard to abortion. I just don't think it fits Ohio.

"It's not who we are. It's not where we are,” the governor added, but whether his take on voter preferences is borne out at the ballot box, only time will tell.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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