Issue 1 solidly rejected; what does that mean for November abortion vote?

With next election battle on tap; abortion rights supporters call it a “personal, private decision;” Right to Life predicts “momentum on our side”

On Tuesday, Ohio voters rejected Issue 1 and kept the state constitution as-is, denying the state legislature’s proposal to make it significantly harder to amend the Ohio Constitution.

If Issue 1 had passed, it would have had far-reaching implications on a range of policies, but most immediately, it would have subjected the inbound abortion-rights ballot question in November to a 60% threshold, instead of a simple majority, in order to pass. Issue 1′s rejection confirms that the abortion-rights amendment will need only a simple majority in order to pass.

With over 99% of precincts reporting statewide, the vote was 57% “No” and 43% “Yes.”

“Ohioans saw Issue 1 for what it was — an attempt to deny our families a voice, even when it comes to our most personal decisions,” said Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights spokesperson Rhiannon Carnes. “Now, Ohioans will turn their focus to rejecting extremism and government control to ensure families have the freedom to make decisions that are best for them. Ohioans believe that abortion is a personal, private decision that should be up to them and their families without government meddling in their business.”

Across the ideological spectrum, Issue 1 was backed by several anti-abortion organizations and activists, most notably Ohio Right to Life, which saw the proposal as the first step to curtail the abortion rights vote this November.

“We obviously were looking for a different result tonight, but I think when all the votes are counted, we’re gonna see that we have a divided state on this issue,” said Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis, who lobbied the legislature to move Issue 1 to the ballot. “I think what that means is that we’re gonna see in November that we will have the momentum on our side.”

After Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, told reporters that the legislature would likely ask Ohioans to approve a measure like Issue 1 again, the Dayton Daily News asked Gonidakis if Ohio Right to Life would support such a campaign again, even if the abortion-rights amendment passes this November.

“Let’s see what happens in November and then ask me that question after that,” Gonidakis said.

Gonidakis said he’s feeling confident about the November election and suggested that Tuesday’s vote on Issue 1, which he said slightly splintered the Republican base, isn’t indicative of how the state will vote on the abortion rights amendment.

“When you have weed and you have abortion on the ballot in November, we’re gonna solidify our conservative base here in Ohio and vote no on both of them,” Gonidakis said.

Issue 1 had no bearing on the inbound November vote to legalize recreational marijuana. That ballot measure is an initiated statute, which creates a law in the Ohio Revised Code and does not amend the state constitution. It will also need a simple majority in order to pass, but can immediately be amended or struck down by the Ohio General Assembly.

Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mohamed Al-Hamdani said “Vote No” volunteers and campaign organizers did a ton of work in a short time, and made a big impact.

“In the short term, it means a lot for the ballot issue — women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose is going to be on the ballot in November in the state of Ohio. This was a very important vote for us,” Al-Hamdani said.

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