Having worked your way through the language of the proposed abortion amendment in Ohio, what does it really say, and what would be its real-world effect?

By Dave Andrusko

If you can make your way through the rhetorical fog, should it pass, the initiative on the ballot this November would—plain and simple— enshrine unlimited abortion as part of the Ohio Constitution.

“Issue 1” would have raised the threshold to change the Ohio state constitution from a simple majority vote to a vote of 60%. That lost 57% to 43% with about 1.7 million people voting against it, and about 1.3 million people voting in favor of it.

There have been many pro-Amendment articles in the state press. Anti-Amendment articles? Not so much.

One of the very best of the latter appeared today in the Cincinnati Enquirer under the headline “Proposed abortion amendment more extreme than Roe v. Wade.”

Written by Ken Craycraft, it pulls no punches from the first sentence—” Supporters of the proposed ballot initiative to establish the so-called right to abortion in the Ohio Constitution rely on obfuscation, distortion and falsification to attempt to scare Ohioans into voting ‘yes’ for a constitutional amendment that is more extreme than Roe v. Wade“ –to the last paragraph—“The proposed constitutional amendment is an exercise in the most extreme abortion advocacy imaginable. I hope Ohioans are smart enough not to fall for the ruse.”

Here are some of the highlights of a thoughtful piece that is very much worth your while to read in its entirety.

* “First, the amendment would prevent Ohioans, through their elected representatives, from passing any meaningful regulation of abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, up to the date of birth.”

But doesn’t it say that “abortion may be prohibited after viability?” Sure, it does. “But this is a meaningless provision,” Craycraft writes, “The very next sentence says that abortion may not be prohibited after viability ‘if in the professional judgment’ of the woman’s physician, the abortion is ‘necessary’ to protect the woman’s ‘life or health.’”

But “Nearly 50 years of abortion law under Roe v. Wade demonstrated what that language means in practice,” he writes. “The malleable term ‘health’ is not even a pretend limit.”

“The purpose of the caveat ‘life or health’ of the mother is to give cover for abortion on demand through all nine months of gestation, without exception.”

* “Second, the proposed amendment would divest parents of any participation in a minor child’s decision to acquire hormonal contraception or procure an abortion. Note, I did not say it would deprive parents of the right to grant permission. It takes away their rights even to be consulted or informed.” Erasing parental involvement is much easier if they don’t even know their child is contemplating an abortion. And…

* “Third, the drafters of the amendment think Ohioans are stupid,” Craycraft concludes. “It is deliberately fashioned to address issues that do not and will not ever exist in Ohio law, solely for the purpose of frightening people into supporting it. It provides that Ohio may not interfere with ‘every individual’s’ decision about ‘contraception,’ ‘fertility treatment,’ and ‘miscarriage care.’ But no law in Ohio, conceived, proposed, or passed has interfered, or would ever interfere, with any of these things. And no governor would sign such a bill.”

Let’s hope and trust that the good citizens of Ohio will see through the “obfuscation, distortion and falsification” and vote “no!” this November.