COLUMBUS — Ohio voters approved an amendment to the state constitution granting the right to make individual reproductive healthcare decisions, including abortion, on Tuesday night.
With 93.91% of precincts reporting as of 12:11 a.m., the measure earned 55.99% voter approval statewide, with 2,050,440 voters saying yes. No votes totaled 1,611,742, or 44.01% of the total vote.
Abortion is currently legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks. Still, a 2019 bill from the state legislature aimed to ban abortion in all cases at six weeks of pregnancy. That bill was wrapped up in lawsuits, but would have gone into effect had Issue 1 failed.
Abortion also was at the center of an August special election that would have upped the threshold to approve a constitutional amendment from a simple majority to a 60% vote.
That measure failed in August, which means the simple majority approving Issue 1 on Tuesday night allows the amendment to stand.
Ashland, Richland and Knox counties saw different results than the statewide numbers.
On Tuesday, proponents of the amendment celebrated its approval.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio released a video statement when news broke that the amendment had been approved.
“Despite the significant challenges we faced, from collecting 700,000 signatures, to defending democracy with the August special election and overcoming misinformation, Ohioans made it clear, once and for all, that abortion rights are a constitutional right,” said Lauren Blauvelt, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio in the video.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio’s Democratic U.S. senator, also released a statement Tuesday night.
“Tonight, Ohioans made it clear that women’s health care decisions should be between them and their doctors, not politicians. That’s what I’ve always believed and will continue to fight for in the U.S. Senate. My opponents disagree and have made it clear they would overrule Ohioans by voting for a national abortion ban. While my opponents work to ban abortion, I will continue fighting for and standing with the people of Ohio.”
Live Action, an anti-abortion organization, released a statement Tuesday night, arguing against the result.
“It is a tragedy that the people of Ohio, and the many states before and to follow them, were asked to vote on the legality of discriminately killing a class of persons based on their age,” read part of the statement from Live Action’s founder and president, Lila Rose. “This is a class of persons, our youngest children, who have no vote and cannot advocate for themselves.”
Ashland County results
Ashland County voters largely disapproved of the amendment.
Of the 17,498 voters who cast ballots in Ashland County, 10,437 voted no on Issue 1. That’s 58.15% of voters.
By contrast, 7,511 people voted yes in Ashland County. That comprises 41.85% of those who voted on Issue 1.
The amendment received support from the Ashland County Democrats, while the Republican party opposed it.
Knox County results
In Knox County, Issue 1 failed by 3,580 votes.
Voters cast 12,762 ballots against the measure, and 9,182 for it.
In Knox County, Starting Point, the pregnancy care center, took a stance against Issue 1. The Knox County Democrats worked to drum up approval for the measure.
Richland County results
Issue 1 failed in Richland County, too. According to final, unofficial Richland County election results, 22,802 Richland County voters said “no” on Issue 1.
That’s compared to 16,810 voters who voted yes.
In Richland County, Richland Pregnancy Services and the Republican party pushed for a no vote on Issue 1, while the Democratic party argued for a yes vote.
This independent, local reporting provided by our Report for America Corps members is brought to you in part by the generous support of the Ashland County Community Foundation.