From “An Ohio amendment serves as a testing ground for statewide abortion fights expected in 2024″ by A. P.’s Julie Carr Smyth and Christine Fernando at The Hill:
Abortion access is expected to play a central role in the 2024 elections. The preview comes next week, when Ohio voters decide whether to enshrine reproductive rights in their state Constitution.
The amendment is the only abortion question on any state’s ballot this year, a spotlight that has generated intense attention from national groups and made Ohio a testing ground for fresh campaign messaging — some of it misleading. The amendment has drawn more than $60 million in combined spending so far.
Mini Timmaraju, president and CEO of Reproductive Freedom for All, said Ohio offers a vital proving ground heading into next year’s presidential election, when Democrats hope the abortion issue can energize supporters in contests up and down the ballot. Initiatives seeking to protect access could be on the ballot across the country, including in the presidential swing states of Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
“When we’re able to see how our messaging impacts independents and Republicans and persuades them that this fundamental freedom is important to protect in Ohio, that’s going to be something that we can implement looking at 2024,” she said.
The battleground on abortion shifted to the states last summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its Roe v. Wade decision, erasing federal abortion protections that had been in place for half a century. Since then, voters in six states — California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont — have either supported measures protecting abortion rights or rejected efforts aimed at eroding access.
Smyth and Fernando note that “The Ohio amendment would guarantee an individual’s right “to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions.” It expressly permits the state to regulate abortions after fetal viability, as determined by an attending physician, as long as any laws regulating the procedure after that point provide exceptions for the life and health of the woman.”
Further, “Its supporters include Democrats in the state, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and a bipartisan coalition of labor, faith and community groups. They portray the measure — one of the most broadly worded so far — as a way to enshrine Roe-era abortion rights in a one-time bellwether state that has turned increasingly Republican and has passed some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on the procedure….AP VoteCast polling last year found that 59% of Ohio voters say abortion should generally be legal.”
“Turnout in the election that concludes Tuesday is expected to be robust,” Smyth and Fernando write, “building on the enthusiasm from the summer, organizers say. Local election officials anticipate 40% to 50% of registered voters will participate, according to the Ohio Association of Election Officials. That’s higher than a typical off-year November election and up from the 39% turnout in August.”