Why Did Issue 1 in Ohio Fail?

In GMC’s last article, Ohio to Vote to Protect Children or Not, we outlined the Ohio initiative called Issue 1.  If passed, Issue  1 would have required any amendment to the Ohio constitution to require a 60% favorable vote on a statewide ballot. It would have also required any organizations proposing an amendment to have collected signatures from all 88 counties (not just the 44 now needed), including both rural/urban and conservative/liberal alike.  Pro-life activists actively promoted Issue 1 as they felt its passing would make it much more difficult to incorporate abortion “rights” and remove parental notification for minors seeking an abortion or a sex change surgery into the state’s constitution.  Unfortunately, Issue 1 was voted against by a margin of 57% (NO) to 43% (YES).  

Pro-life groups like the Susan B. Anthony List attributed the loss to millions of dollars in dark money that poured into Ohio. According to The Hill, “Campaign finance data shows the push against Issue 1, called One Person One Vote, raised nearly 85 percent of its $14.8 million in contributions from outside Ohio. Several of the largest donations came from so-called dark money groups who are not legally obligated to disclose their donors, including progressive Sixteen Thirty Fund, based in Washington, D.C., and the Tides Foundation, a social justice group based in California.” 

The Pro-life side also had help from outside the state but was substantially underfunded to the tune of 10 million dollars and, for some reason, as of July 28th, only spent about one-third of the money raised. Realizing this, Ohio Pro-life organizers put together a makeshift rally just two days before the vote with big-name stars like Bishop Strickland, Jim Caviezel, Abby Johnson, General Michael Flynn, and Jon Yep from Catholics for Catholics as a last-ditch effort. But obviously, it was too little, too late.

The radical left is heralding this initiative as a huge victory, and the plan is to use the same amendment process in other states to enshrine abortion within state constitutions. The Pro-life movement certainly has an uphill battle on its hands. Since Issue 1 did not pass, Ohio voters will now get to vote on a very misleadingly worded amendment that will appear on the ballot in November.  

According to the National Review, “The proposed amendment is extreme in ways the average voter would not know simply from reading the text.”  The amendment talks about, “contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care, and abortion.” It then says, “The State shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against…an individual’s voluntary exercise of this right.” 

In this context, the word discriminate means – abortions will be publicly funded; individual means – a person who is not necessarily an adult; interfere means – parents won’t have a say in the case of a minor; fertility treatment means – possible transgender surgeries. Shrewdly the amendment also states, “abortion may be prohibited after fetal viability” However, doctors will make a case-by-case determination, and the mother’s mental health can also be considered. So basically, this is all cleverly worded legalese to allow abortions in Ohio at any time during pregnancy up to the moment of birth for anyone – including minors.

This sleight of hand also affected the public’s understanding of Issue 1. The group One Person One Vote billed this fight as a way to temper governmental overreach. Here are some of the propagandist’s talking points posted on their website:

  • It [Issue 1] is gaining national attention as a political power grab intended to change the rules and rob Ohio voters of their voice. 
  • This amendment shreds our Constitution, ending majority rule in Ohio and removing our right to decide what happens here.
  • It undermines the sacred principle of “one person, one vote.”

Nowhere was listed any mention of abortion until birth or any of the other radical initiatives – which is undoubtedly the Marxist left’s end game. Unfortunately, after the governmental abuse we have been subjected to during the pandemic, the message of One Person, One Vote could have been somewhat attractive to uninformed voters who truly value freedom and democracy.  

The fight in Ohio is still ongoing. The pro-life, pro-family movements need to lick their wounds and learn from their mistakes. One mistake is that the messaging needs to start earlier, and the bill’s specifics must be presented in an understandable way to voters. Secondly, pro-life movements must encourage early voting like their counterparts, who amassed many votes before election day. The vote would not have been so lopsided if both measures were employed.

Churches and other community organizations must educate and inspire Christians statewide to protect the most vulnerable members of their state. The children, both born and unborn, deserve no less. And the rest of us need to pray and pray very hard for the end of the scourge of abortion in this nation.

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