Reproductive rights advocates in Ohio are suing a state board for approving “politicized, deceptive” and incorrect language on a poll measure asking voters to enshrine abortion rights within the state structure.
The lawsuit from Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights accuses the Ohio Ballot Board of “exploiting their authority in an attempt to undermine a measure they oppose.” The lawsuit notes that a number of members of the board, which voted 3-2 to approve the poll language, have made their opposition to the modification very public.
The board refused to place the “clear, simple 194-word text of the Amendment” on the poll and insisted on doing a rewrite, however “the adopted language is longer (by word count) than the Amendment it purports to condense,” the lawsuit states.
The textual content accepted by the board makes use of language straight from the anti-abortion motion’s playbook. As Ohio state Rep. Elliot Forhan (D), a member of the board who opposed the rewritten language, famous at a listening to, the modification “uses the medically correct term, ‘fetus,’ but the proposed language substitutes the phrase … ‘unborn child,’ which reflects a personal viewpoint.”
Medical professionals use the phrases “fetus” and “embryo,” as “unborn baby” provides the misunderstanding that the embryo or fetus might survive outdoors the womb, when in actuality that’s not attainable till the tip levels of a full-term being pregnant. Similar to politicians branding six-week abortion bans as “heartbeat bills,” the “unborn baby” language is designed to prey on folks’s feelings and sway them in opposition to supporting reproductive rights.
The accepted textual content additionally leaves out essential details about the proposed modification, the lawsuit states.
“The Amendment would protect reproductive decisions, including five express categories of personal reproductive decisions: those to do with contraception, fertility treatment, continuing a pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion,” the plaintiffs wrote. “Yet the ballot language mentions only abortion, obscuring much of the Amendment’s scope.”
The lawsuit asks the court docket to order the board to reconvene and both undertake the modification language or language that “properly and lawfully describes the amendment” for the poll.
The accepted textual content was drafted by the board’s chair, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican who has made his opposition to the modification very clear. In an interview final week, he referred to it as a “dangerous, anti-parent amendment.” He and the opposite members of the board are additionally named within the lawsuit.
But latest polling reveals Ohioans help enshrining the rights to abortion and different reproductive choices within the state structure. According to a July ballot from the USA Today community and Suffolk University, the proposed modification has the backing of 58% of doubtless voters.
That’s sufficient to move the modification when it goes to voters on Nov. 7, as a GOP-led effort to extend the approval threshold for constitutional amendments from 50% to 60% failed earlier this month.
Constitutional amendments defending reproductive rights have prevailed in different states. Last fall, voters protected abortion entry within the 5 states the place it was on the poll, together with crimson states Kentucky and Montana, together with blue-leaning swing state Michigan.