Columbus, OH — Today, a non-partisan, grassroots coalition in Ohio submitted more than 700,000 signatures from state residents in all 88 counties in an effort to qualify a critical ballot measure to defend reproductive rights.
Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, which is backed by the Fairness Project, seeks to qualify the Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety Amendment for the November 2023 election. The ballot measure was filed earlier this year in response to the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which struck down the longstanding protections of Roe v. Wade and ended federal protections for abortion rights.
“This overwhelming show of support for reproductive freedom by Ohio voters is historic and inspiring,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project. “The Dobbs decision was a dark day in our history that continues to have dire consequences on the health and well-being of countless Americans. But since that day, we have seen unprecedented levels of enthusiasm to defend abortion rights across the country through ballot measures — and now that movement has come to Ohio. The Fairness Project stands with Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights and is ready to support this critical ballot measure campaign however we can.”
The signatures submitted by the campaign will be now reviewed by state boards of elections and the Secretary of State by July 25. At least 413,487 valid signatures are required to qualify the measure for the election.
In the wake of the Dobbs decision, Ohio politicians implemented a near-total ban on abortion. The ban is currently being blocked by a court injunction, but the Ohio Supreme Court could potentially reinstate it. Because the proposed ballot measure is a constitutional amendment, it would override existing abortion bans on the books in Ohio and make reproductive freedom permanent in Ohio.
Special interests and extreme politicians including Secretary of State Frank LaRose — who is expected to announce a run for the U.S. Senate imminently — are already working to preempt the reproductive freedom amendment. The Ohio General Assembly has called a special election for August 8 in order to ram through Issue 1, which would require a 60% supermajority of voters to pass future ballot measures instead of the current 50%+1 threshold. The Fairness Project is actively supporting the https://votenoinaugust.org/ campaign to defeat this attack on ballot measures as part of its Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign.
Last year, the Fairness Project worked with the Michigan Reproductive Freedom for All campaign and the Vermont for Reproductive Liberty campaign to pass constitutional amendments in each state defending reproductive rights through ballot measures.