The Ohio Supreme Court holds the key to the future of abortion rights in the state as a new legal battle begins. And, with a constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall, time is of the essence. Here is the full story.
Bans After Six Weeks
Back in 2019, with Donald Trump stacking the Supreme Court in favor of conservatives, several Republican-led states began planning the future of abortion in their states.
After all, it seemed like only a matter of time before someone brought an abortion case to the top court in the land and gave them a chance to overturn Roe v. Wade.
And, if that happened, the question of whether or not to allow abortions would fall on the individual states.
So that year, Republican lawmakers went to work in the Buckeye state and passed a ban on all abortions after the 6-week mark.
But since Roe v. Wade was still in place, abortion was protected at the federal level, so the ban had to be put on hold.
When the COVID gridlock finally cleared up enough for cases to roll through the Supreme Court at a fast and furious pace again, though, it was only a matter of time before the abortion debate came front and center.
And that’s exactly what happened when SCOTUS did what everyone expected and overturned Roe in the summer of 2022.
At that moment, Ohio’s 6-week ban roared into action, and women across the state were suddenly faced with fewer choices than they’d had in decades.
The Court Room Freeze
Abortion rights activists went to work right away, taking the case to Ohio courts. Last fall, a lower court put a freeze on the abortion ban, and the legal ping-pong game was on.
Meanwhile, pro-choice supporters also decided to play the long game and managed to get a referendum on the upcoming November ballot that could decide the issue once and for all.
The proposed remedy is an amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee women the right to choose an abortion in the future.
But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the pro-choicers, as the Republican-led ballot board drafted the language that will go before voters.
Changing “Unborn Child” to “Fetus”
That setup yet another court date, with abortion activists seeking a rewrite that included, among other updates, changing “unborn child” to “fetus.”
In mid-September, the Supreme Court sided with the ballot board. Though they mandated a few minor wording changes, “unborn child” stands.
Now, the high court is in the midst of another showdown between the two sides, and it’s one that could topple the amendment efforts. Or at least delay them.
Attorney General Dave Yost is appealing that lower-court ruling from last fall. He wants the Supreme Court to lift the injunction and restore the 6-week abortion ban that conservatives have been salivating over since before the pandemic.
If the court rules in the state’s favor, that would unleash even more chaos in the fight over reproductive rights.
Ohio would be dealing with an active ban on abortions while staring at a possible amendment vote just a few weeks down the road.
Other states have their eyes glued on Ohio, too, as it’s the first state to get this far toward an amendment since Roe was overturned.
And those observers know that if they so much as blink, they’re going to miss something big.
It’s bound to be a wild ride in the Buckeye state.
The post “Unborn Child” or “Fetus?” – Ohio’s Abortion Amendment Ping-Pong Set to End With a Vote first appeared on The Net Worth Of.
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