Republicans and pro-life advocates suffered a major loss in Ohio on Tuesday, when voters there overwhelmingly approved a new ballot measure that will enshrine a woman’s right to get an abortion into Ohio’s constitution.
The ballot measure, called Issue 1, passed easily in Ohio. Republican Senator JD Vance, who represents the state, said it was a “gut punch” to the anti-abortion movement.
The action taken by Ohio voters actually follows that of voters who passed a similar measure in Michigan in 2022. There are constitutional amendments already on the 2024 ballot for New York and Maryland that would protect a woman’s right to abortion in their states, and as many as a dozen other states could end up adding similar measures to the ballot next year.
Vance tried to campaign aggressively to persuade people to vote the ballot measure down, but obviously he was not successful in doing so.
Following the results of the vote, Vance posted a full essay on the social media platform X, saying that anti-abortion activists need to not give up, instead turning their focus to how they ended up losing this vote and figuring out how they needed to change the tide in the future.
As he wrote:
“Giving up on the unborn is not an option. It’s politically dumb and morally repugnant. Instead, we need to understand why we lost this battle so we can win the war.”
Now that Issue 1 has passed, it will amend Ohio’s constitution to include protections for access to abortions. It establishes “an individual right to one’s own reproductive medical treatment,” which includes care for miscarriages, contraception and abortion.
It is set to take effect on December 7.
While abortion in Ohio is legal up until 22 weeks of pregnancy, the state’s “heartbeat law” was set to ban all abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy – when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected.
In his essay, Vance said that law was a major reason why voters ended up passing Issue 1 with a 56.6% majority. As he wrote:
“First, we got creamed among voters who disliked both Issue 1 and also Ohio’s current law [heartbeat bill]. We saw this consistently in polling and in conversations. ‘I don’t like Issue 1, but I’d rather have that extreme than the other extreme.’ This is a political fact, not my opinion.”
Vance took this a step further, saying that those who advocate against abortion have to realize that voters really mistrust any elected Republican on the issue of abortion. As he wrote:
“We need people to see us as the pro-life party, not just the anti-abortion party.”
He also said that he supports the positions of former President Donald Trump, who has said there must be exceptions in place for abortions in all laws, such as with instances of incest, rape and when the mother’s life is at risk.
And Vance added that too many Republicans have spent too much time trying to win a legal argument on the issue that it’s caused then to fall behind “on the moral argument.”