Ohio approves ballot measure to enshrine reproductive rights in state constitution

The Ohio Ballot Board Monday voted to move forward with a proposed ballot measure enshrining abortion rights in the state’s constitution. The measure would amend Article I of the Ohio Constitution by adding a section called, “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety.” Now, abortion rights activists who are working to put the measure on the ballot can begin gathering signatures from registered voters to advance the measure even further forward.

The proposed amendment provides several protections regarding reproductive health and freedom. Included among them are the individual right to make your own reproductive choices regarding contraception, fertility treatments, continuance of pregnancy, miscarriage care and abortion. The amendment also prohibits the state from interfering with an individual’s exercise of their constitutional reproductive rights. The state is also prohibited from interfering with any entity helping the individual gain access to reproductive healthcare resources.

The amendment does include one restriction on abortion procedures. If the proposed amendment is adopted, abortion will be prohibited after “fetal viability,” which is defined as the point during a pregnancy at which, upon the judgement of the pregnant patient’s physician, the fetus is significantly likely to survive outside of the uterus.

To get the measure on the ballot for the November election, supporters of the measure have to gather 412,591 signatures from registered voters in at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties by July 5.