Test Case: Strong Backing for Proposed Ohio Abortion Rights Amendment

Solid backing for a proposed Ohio constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion rights stands as a test case, specifically since it is GOP-leaning and likely the only abortion measure on the ballot in a November off-year election, according to a Monday report by USA Today. 

According to a new USA Today Network/Suffolk University survey of residents of the state, the amendment, which would guarantee access to reproductive services, is currently winning 58%-32%.

The issue is being closely watched by activists nationwide who continue to weigh state-based initiatives in the next election cycle to restore or codify abortion rights. 

“For sure, I think folks are really paying attention,” said the director of state abortion access for the National Women’s Law Center, Heather Shumaker, which backs the amendment to USA Today. 

It is specifically true in states where GOP-controlled state governments have put in place strict limits on abortion since the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court a year ago, added Shumaker. “We know that ballot measures have emerged as one of the most promising strategies to preserve abortion access.”

Anti-abortion activists are keeping a close eye on Ohio

Anti-abortion activists are closely watching Ohio to learn how to combat the initiatives.

“I certainly anticipate other states to be looking at us and the model we used,” said Protect Women Ohio’s Amy Natoce. Protect Women Ohio is a coalition that opposes the proposal. The organization describes the measure as “anti-parent” and contends it undermines the authority of parents to make decisions about gender assignment and abortion issues for their children. 

“The general public in Ohio still likes their local Republican lawmakers, but when it comes to extreme positions against abortion rights, they are reeling in them,” said David Paleologos, who works as director of Suffolk University Political Research Center. 

“Even Republican voters have daughters, nieces, and granddaughters who may be facing decisions right now on abortion, contraception, or fertility treatment. So, for some of these voters, it’s not politics; it’s personal.”

 The proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution specifies that “every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.” Abortion could be banned after a fetus is considered viable when it can survive outside the womb.

The following statistics were included in the results of the poll:

•        Among Republicans, 57% opposed the amendment, while 32% supported it.

•        The measure was roundly supported by Democrats, backing it 81%-14%. Support among independent women was 85%-12%, slightly higher than Democrat women, 81%-14%. 

•        People with no higher education past a high school diploma backed it 52%-39%, while those with post-graduate degrees supported it 65%-26%.

•        Men backed the measure 50%-37%, while women supported it 64%-28%.

•        Minority respondents supported it 66%-24%, with white respondents backing it 57%-34%.

The poll was conducted from July 9-12 among 500 likely voters in Ohio, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points for the total sample.