Late-Term Abortion and Kids’ Trans Surgeries Speed to an August 8 Showdown in Ohio
As Ohio goes, they say, so goes the nation. Parents are desperately hoping that isn’t the case where a dangerous late-term abortion amendment with transgender loopholes is concerned. Last week, out-of-state interests and big money leftists pulled truckloads of signatures up to the secretary of state’s office in hopes of radically altering the Buckeyes’ constitution this November. If it passes, Ohio moms and dads will have zero say over their children’s abortions or bodily mutilation. But not if Republicans get to the constitution first.
It’s every family’s worst nightmare: a single vote that would “obliterate” parents’ rights. That’s what America’s bellwether state is staring down this fall if voters don’t show up at the polls August 8. “It allows kids to get transgender surgeries without parental consent. It would lead to the loss of upwards of 30,000 lives every year. And the manipulations and lies that are going to pour into our state in November if this thing makes the ballot [are] going to be massive.”
Those are the sobering words of Aaron Baer, president of Ohio’s Center for Christian Virtue (CCV), about the war underway in one of America’s pro-life states. Last Wednesday, Democrats got even closer to their goal of hurting the country’s children, driving U-hauls of signatures to the state’s capital — almost double (700,000) the 413,446 needed to put the so-called Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Freedom amendment in the state constitution.
As part of the Left’s post-Dobbs response, states have been under ferocious attack to add radical, late-term abortion language to their constitutions. And in Ohio, the language is so broad that it would extend to wildly unpopular transgender procedures too — giving minors absolute autonomy over their bodies. Like they’ve done in other states, extremists are trying to undermine the Republican, pro-life majorities in the legislatures by going directly to the people — a tactic that critics warn is changing the country’s most sacred documents by mob rule.
“This is all sort of [the] leftist strateg[y] for undermining the states,” Baer cautioned in a special episode of “The Narrative” podcast, “and it all goes into the state constitution. … [This way,] they don’t need to worry about working through the governor’s office. They don’t need to worry about working through the General Assembly. They can bypass the true … form of government that we have in our states and pour enough money and manipulate enough voters to get their stuff into the constitution. And once it’s in there, it’s almost impossible to get out.”
The Buckeye constitution, in particular, is an easy target. Under Ohio’s rules, it only takes 50% of the vote to alter the state’s most important document. “This has been a vulnerability, a problem with our state constitution for years and years and years,” Baer explained. “And it’s led to so many different issues and so many different problems that we’ve wanted to fix it. And then the November ballot issue just sort of highlighted, ‘Okay, we got to do this now. We’ve got to fix this.’”
Thankfully, conservatives in the general assembly saw this train barreling down the track and responded with a counter-attack of their own — Issue 1— setting the special election for that initiative on August 8 in hopes of slamming the door shut on the radical amendment before November.
A “yes” vote on Issue 1 next month would take three major steps to stop the abortion and transgender mob: 1) it would raise the threshold needed to alter the Ohio constitution from 50% to 60%; 2) it would require that all 88 counties submit signatures in favor of any proposed amendment (not half as it stands now); and 3) it would do away with the 10-day “cure” period to replace and correct signatures, a provision that critics say has been abused in recent years.
“So you could still change state law with 50% of the vote. This is saying if you’re changing our founding document, our most important foundational document, the state constitution, you need to get to 60%,” Baer pointed out. And, if you want to “put something on the ballot to amend the constitution, you need to get signatures from all 88 counties. You can’t just go to the 44 counties that are most amenable to your topic. … This is saying every Ohioan counts.”
If Issue 1 gets the thumbs-up from voters, Ohio would be the first state to require buy-in on citizen-led amendments from all state counties. To the more rural areas of the state, that would be a welcome change. “Most of the time, I think the voters, especially in southeastern Ohio, they think all that really matters to Ohio is Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati,” Dan Weber, chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The only time that small places like us are important is when they want our tax money and that’s about it.”
Ohio State Rep. Brian Steward (R) agreed. “There are very few, if any, actual grassroots-driven constitutional amendments. These are all carried by monied interests in one sense or another. If Issue 1 passes, “the special interests that are bankrolling amendments currently are going to have to dig a little bit deeper into their own pockets to make the ballot.”
Right now, those interests — Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and others — are already pouring tens of millions of dollars into this Buckeye crusade, which is expected to be the biggest showdown over abortion in 2023. As Baer put it, “We can’t overstate it enough. There is a very direct tie between a ‘yes’ vote on August 8 and protecting life in the state of Ohio.”
The state’s 170-year-old constitution, he pointed out, has almost 70,000 words, compared to the U.S. Constitution, which clocks in at a modest 7,000 or so. Why the discrepancy? “Because [Ohio’s has] been so easily manipulated and amended. And yeah, it’s just an issue that touches so much more than just abortion. But right now, that’s the fire that’s raging.”
Of course, opponents of Issue 1 say the changes are unnecessary because Ohio already has pro-life laws (most recently, a six-week heartbeat law that’s currently being blocked by the courts). But that’s a ridiculous argument, CCV’s David Mahan argues, because “when you put something in the constitution … it supersedes all the other laws.”
That’s why there’s so much urgency about this. As Protect Women Ohio points out, Buckeyes are so opposed to the amendment that national groups had to pay people to knock on doors. On undercover videos, signature gatherers openly talk about accepting invalid names just so they can get more money.
“The ACLU’s extreme anti-parent amendment is so unpopular that it couldn’t even rely on grassroots support to collect signatures. The ACLU paid out-of-state signature collectors to lie to Ohioans about its dangerous amendment that will strip parents of their rights, permit minors to undergo sex change operations without their parents’ knowledge or consent, and allow painful abortion on demand through all nine months. The ACLU’s attempts to hijack Ohio’s constitution to further its own radical agenda would be pathetic if they weren’t so dangerous.”
Family Research Council Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell, former mayor of Cincinnati and Ohio secretary of state, stressed the urgency of the moment. “It’s up to us to protect and defend our state constitution by raising the threshold for ratification,” he told The Washington Stand. “Otherwise, abortion activists and potentially other ill-intentioned special interest groups will continue to exploit it. Vote ‘yes’ on Issue 1 in August — Ohio’s future depends on it.”
For more information on this issue, see The Center for Christian Virtue’s brief here.
Paid for by Family Research Council (frc.org) and not authorized by any campaign or ballot issue committee.
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.