An amendment to enshrine abortion access until the moment of birth without parental consent has received enough signatures to be added to Ohio’s ballot this November.
The ACLU-drafted amendment would strip parents of their right to be notified or give consent to their minor children getting abortions or irreversible sex-change operations. It would also create a taxpayer-funded constitutional right for Ohioans to receive an abortion up to birth.
Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Protect Choice Ohio, the groups behind the amendment, had until Wednesday to gather 413,000 valid signatures.
“Ohio voters are extremely pro-choice,” Marcela Azevedo, president of the Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, told ABC News.
The amendment was so radically unpopular, however, that supporters could not garner enough signatures using in-state grassroots organizations, according to Protect Women Ohio, a state pro-life coalition.
“The ACLU paid out-of-state signature collectors to lie to Ohioans about their dangerous amendment that will strip parents of their rights, permit minors to undergo sex change operations without their parents’ knowledge or consent, and allow painful abortion on demand through all nine months,” Amy Natoce, press secretary for Protect Women Ohio, told The Daily Signal in a statement Thursday. “The ACLU’s attempts to hijack Ohio’s Constitution to further its own radical agenda would be pathetic if it wasn’t so dangerous.”
Protect Women Ohio released footage showing a Planned Parenthood-hired petitioner explaining the intent of the amendment using misleading language in order to get signatures. The petitioner said the amendment is not necessarily “for or against abortion,” but will just extend the time frame a woman can receive an abortion from six weeks to 12 weeks. This explanation does not accurately describe the entire scope of the amendment’s propositions.
The man also admitted to being from Michigan, where he also gathered signatures, all for $25 an hour.
The pro-life group Created Equal released another video showing a petitioner knowingly gathering a signature from a woman not registered to vote in Ohio. The man explains that he is monetarily incentivized to gather signatures, even invalid ones, in order to meet his quota.
The amendment relies on vague language to codify the so-called reproductive rights invented by the defunct Roe v. Wade. According to the nonprofit law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, the amendment’s language casting “reproductive rights” as “fundamental rights” is deceptive. According to ADF, the amendment’s supporters are relying on the likelihood that voters are unaware that “fundamental rights” refer to rights reflected in the U.S. Bill of Rights and Ohio Constitution, neither of which include abortion.
The amendment’s vague language would likely enable courts to interpret it as protecting a right to transgender surgeries, ADF warns. Courts could interpret the amendment to protect the removal of healthy body parts, opening the opportunity for gender-reassignment surgeries protected under the law.
“This amendment is too extreme for Ohio,” Logan Church, director of CatholicVote Ohio, told The Daily Signal. “As part of its unrelenting attack on parents, the ACLU’s proposed amendment seeks to cut parents out of their child’s most important and life-altering health decisions—including abortions and sex-change operations.”
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