COLUMBUS, OH — Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights (OPRR) will submit The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety amendment and summary to the Ohio Attorney General for review this afternoon. The petitions will be filed under Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights. The two groups are working together to place the issue on the 2023 statewide general election ballot. (Full text is below).
Legal counsel and representatives of both groups drafted the amendment language and summary and then collected thousands of signatures of Ohio voters in less than two days–far exceeding the 1,000 required by state law.
“Ohioans are perilously close to losing access to safe, legal, comprehensive reproductive medical care,” OPRR executive director Dr. Lauren Beene said. “As we saw first-hand when Ohio’s abortion ban went into effect last year, withholding that care puts people’s lives and health at risk. This common sense amendment ensures that physicians will be able to provide the care our patients need and deserve free from government interference.”
“The tremendous and unprecedented level of grassroots support for our effort to constitutionally protect reproductive rights and abortion access is truly inspiring and demonstrates how necessary this issue is for Ohioans,” OPRR president Dr. Marcela Azevedo said. “Now that we have taken this critical first step in the process we are eager to begin collecting the signatures needed to place the amendment on the ballot so Ohioans, rather than government and extremist politicians, have the opportunity to determine the future of reproductive health care in our state.”
“Our proposal will amend the state Constitution to explicitly affirm Ohioans’ fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which includes making and carrying out your own decisions about abortion, contraception, miscarriage care, prenatal care, childbirth, and other reproductive healthcare services,” added Professor Jessie Hill, who has worked closely with Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and the ACLU of Ohio. “Right now, we have extremist politicians who are eager to bring back a dangerous six-week abortion ban, and who want to go even further to limit Ohioans’ reproductive freedoms. These decisions rightfully belong to patients and physicians, and that’s why we’re putting this issue before the people.”
“Ohioans deserve the right to safe and legal abortion care in our communities, they should not be forced to travel out-of-state to get healthcare,” stated Dr. Sri Thakkilapati of Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom. “The power to make reproductive health decisions must be in the hands of the person seeking care. Our grassroots initiative empowers Ohioans to determine their own futures and puts power where it rightly belongs, in the hands of the people. We are energized and eager to see the ballot amendment through to victory.”
Under the laws that govern the citizen-initiated constitutional amendment process, the Attorney General will have up to 10 days to approve the summary of the amendment. If approved, the Attorney General certifies the issue to the Ohio Ballot Board, which then has up to 10 days to determine that the language contains only one constitutional amendment. After certification by the Ballot Board, the Attorney General files the amendment and its summary with the Secretary of State. At that point the petitioners may begin the statewide signature gathering effort. The groups must collect and submit 413,488 valid signatures by July 5, 2023.