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Ohio votes in favor of amending the state constitution to enshrine abortion rights

Issue 1 supporters cheer at a watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Columbus Ohio.
Sue Ogrocki
/
AP
Issue 1 supporters cheer at a watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Columbus Ohio.

Updated November 7, 2023 at 9:41 PM ET

Ohio voters have decided to amend their state constitution to guarantee the right to abortion and other reproductive rights, according to the Associated Press.

Ohio was the only state directly voting on abortion access this cycle. The campaign was widely watched across the country ahead of the 2024 presidential election as an indicator of how much voters are mobilized by abortion rights.

This result continues the winning streak of abortion rights advocates, who have pushed to bring the issue directly before voters through constitutional amendments and ballot measures in the wake of theU.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last year. Since then, abortion access has been on the ballot in seven states. In each instance, anti-abortion rights groups lost.

President Biden called the vote a "win" for democracy.

"Ohioans and voters across the country rejected attempts by MAGA Republican elected officials to impose extreme abortion bans that put the health and lives of women in jeopardy, force women to travel hundreds of miles for care, and threaten to criminalize doctors and nurses for providing the health care that their patients need and that they are trained to provide," Biden said in a statement Tuesday night.

The passage of the amendment will stop the return of a state law that prohibits abortion at the point when fetal cardiac activity can be detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

A county court put that law on hold a year ago after doctors brought a lawsuit claiming that while it had an exception for the life of the mother, some women were being put in situations that endangered their lives. The state appealed that ruling to the Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court, which includes three justices who have publicly gone on record as opposing abortion rights.

People gather in the parking lot of the Hamilton County Board of Elections as people arrive for early in-person voting in Cincinnati, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023.
Carolyn Kaster / AP
/
AP
People gather in the parking lot of the Hamilton County Board of Elections as people arrive for early in-person voting in Cincinnati, on Nov. 2.

The campaign for and against the amendment was intense — with ads on the measure dominating the airwaves.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, a staunch opponent of the amendment, appeared in an ad attacking the measure, calling it "not right for Ohio."

Tuesday's vote comes after Republican lawmakers put a measure on aspecial August ballot to change the state constitution to require a 60% threshold of passage for constitutional amendments rather than a simple majority. It failed.

Various polls consistently show somewhere between 55% and 58% of Ohioans support at least some abortion rights.

Ohio voters also weighed in on a question of whether to legalize marijuana in the state. Find the results below.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jo Ingles (Statehouse News Bureau)
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