Ohio Republicans are claiming a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights, which was approved by voters in Tuesday’s election, doesn’t actually do that — and they’re promising to take steps to prevent the legal protection of reproductive freedom in the state.
“To prevent mischief by pro-abortion courts with Issue 1, Ohio legislators will consider removing jurisdiction from the judiciary over this ambiguous ballot initiative,” Ohio House Republicans wrote in a statement released Thursday. “The Ohio legislature alone will consider what, if any, modifications to make to existing laws based on public hearings and input from legal experts on both sides.”
Ohio banned abortion in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, but legal challenges to state’s abortion laws left residents’ reproductive rights in limbo until Tuesday’s ballot measure. The strategy Republicans are now proposing would essentially strip Ohio’s courts of the authority to repeal existing abortion restrictions before the new amendment goes into effect on December 7.
“No amendment can overturn the God-given rights with which we were born,” state Rep. Beth Lear (R-Galena) added in the Republican’s statement. Another representative, Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester), claimed the referendum had only passed due to “foreign election interference.”
Rep. Bill Dean (R-Xenia) said the amendment “doesn’t repeal a single Ohio law,” and that its language is “dangerously vague and unconstrained, and can be weaponized to attack parental rights or defend rapists, pedophiles, and human traffickers.”
Ohio is not the only state where Republicans are attempting to undermine pro-choice ballot initiatives endorsed by constituents. In Michigan, two anti-choice activist groups are working with Republican lawmakers to sue the state and block the implementation of that state’s voter-approved constitutional amendment.
Stacey LaRouche, press secretary to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, told The Detroit News that “it shouldn’t be lost on people that these right-wing organizations and radical Republicans in the Michigan Legislature are cherry-picking courts to try to once again overturn a constitutionally guaranteed right because they can’t win with voters.”
Ballot measures supporting reproductive freedom have been approved in all seven states where they have been put to voters. Despite Republicans claiming that the end of Roe signified the return of the abortion issue to the will of individual states, they clearly remain determined to undermine reproductive rights no matter what any state’s voters have to say about them.
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