CLEVELAND (WJW) — Ohioans may get to decide for themselves whether or not abortion should be legal in Ohio.
Monday, the Ohio Ballot Board gave the green light for abortion rights groups to collect signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. But anti-abortion groups say they plan to put a stop to the measure.
Supporters of the proposal want to enshrine abortion rights into the Ohio Constitution. To successfully pass the constitutional amendment, they need to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures, while anti-abortion groups say they are in for a fight.
Their goal is to create a constitutional amendment giving a woman a right to have an abortion up until the point a fetus can survive outside the womb.
“We are planning on bringing as many people as possible that support us, we know that the majority of Ohioans support access to reproductive health and reproductive freedom,” said Jordyn Close, deputy director of the Ohio Women’s Alliance.
“Legislation and legislators do not belong in our exam room, the discussion about abortion, continuation of pregnancy and adoption, belong between a patient and her physician,” said Dr. Amy Burkett, OBGYN, Physicians for Reproductive Rights.
The initiative is led by Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights and the Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom.
State law requires them to collect more than 413,000 valid voter signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties by July 5. Although they plan to collect 700,000 signatures.
“We are very well-prepared here in Ohio to …. we have a strategy we’re going to be engaging people from all over the state,” said Beth Vanderkoo executive director for Greater Columbus Right to Life.
Anti-abortion groups are already gearing up for a fight. Many think the proposed amendment goes too far.
“If need be, we will be taking a message door to door through the summer and all through the fall, that their proposal is so extreme that it would provide for unlimited abortions,” said Vanderkoo.
Last year, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade, Ohio implemented a law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.
But a judge stopped the law from going into effect, which means abortion remains legal in the state up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn the judge’s stay.
“We are not strangers to the people in our state, whether that is other organizations or the people in power, trying to strip us of our bodily autonomy, we’ll never stop this fight,” said Close.