The Fight for Clear Reproductive Rights Language on Ohio’s Ballot

It seems Ohio’s Ballot Board is not above the politics of deception when it comes to reproductive rights. And guess who’s calling them out? Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights (OURR) has taken the board to task with a lawsuit over what they deem “intentionally misleading” summary language of Issue 1 – a crucial amendment that addresses reproductive freedoms.

Issue 1 is straightforward. It advocates for every individual’s right to make their reproductive decisions, from contraception choices to abortion. The amendment also emphasizes that Ohio should not interfere, discriminate against, or burden this right. There’s a caveat, though – post-fetal viability abortions would be off the table unless it’s essential for the patient’s health.

Yet, the Ballot Board, with Secretary of State Frank LaRose leading the charge, has allegedly played fast and loose with the amendment’s representation. The board’s version? It reportedly veers away from impartiality, leaning into biases. OURR is particularly riled up about four deceptive language examples they believe could hoodwink voters.

Instead of providing voters with the clear 194-word text of the amendment, the board opted for a rewrite. A longer, more convoluted version that seems to deviate from the amendment’s true essence. For example, the board swapped the inclusive “pregnant patient” for “pregnant woman”, and used emotionally loaded terms like “unborn child” over the medically accurate “embryo” or “fetus”.

Lauren Blauvelt of OURR wasn’t holding back: “The Ballot Board’s members exploited their authority in a bid to deceive and bamboozle Ohio voters.” The intention? Possibly to cloud the waters ahead of the crucial November vote on reproductive freedom. A vote that’s about handing decision-making power back to the people and keeping government noses out of personal choices.

This controversy isn’t emerging from a vacuum. Just last week, the board’s summary decision ignited indignation. Molly Meegan from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists pointedly remarked that this move is yet another bid to replace the will of Ohio residents with a partisan agenda, using language that’s neither “clinically nor legally sound.”

To add some historical context, this isn’t Ohio’s first tango with reproductive rights. After last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that rocked national abortion rights, states have been busy with ballot measures. While some states stood up for reproductive rights, others attempted to limit healthcare access. Now, it seems Ohio is at a crossroads.

So, to our Ohio millennials and Gen-Z readers: Stay informed, and make sure to read the actual amendment text. Don’t let the narrative be hijacked. It’s essential to see through attempts to manipulate at the ballot box and make choices that resonate with a progressive future for Ohio.