Talk to Your “Pro-choice” Friends about Issue 1

By Laura Curran, Executive Director

Often, it’s difficult to approach our “pro-choice” friends and family about Life issues. Sometimes, awkward and contentious discussions ensue. However, Issue 1, which will be on the ballot in the November election, offers the potential for consensus around five key points.

Regardless of where one stands on the abortion issue in general or political party affiliation, reasonable people can agree:

  • The medical safety of women seeking abortions should be protected.
  • Safety standards for abortion clinics should be enforced.
  • Parents should retain the right to be informed and consent to dispensing medications and to medical procedures being performed on their children.
  • Safeguards should be in place that protect women and children from being trafficked.
  • Painful abortions of full-term babies that, if born, could survive outside the womb should be prohibited.

The language in the proposed Ohio constitutional amendment, “Issue 1,” is intentionally vague and contains “loopholes” that are sure to mimic the legal ramifications that have occurred in Michigan, Vermont, and California, which have passed similar constitutional amendments.

If Issue 1 passes, doctors would no longer be required to examine a pregnant woman, perform an ultrasound to date the pregnancy, rule out a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy or an Rh factor incompatibility, or explain the risks of the procedure ahead of time. Abortions could be performed by non-physicians without assurance of nearby hospital access if complications occur. Abortion clinics could go unregulated, removing basic standards for safety and cleanliness. Licensing and regular inspections could disappear. Ohioans could expect abortion complications and even deaths to rise.

If Issue 1 passes, a 15-year-old will be able to have an abortion, receive cross-gender hormones, or even gender reassignment surgery without her parents’ notification or consent. That same girl could not get Tylenol from the school nurse, have her ears pierced, or get a tattoo without her parents’ permission. Parental notification and consent laws have already been nullified by courts in other states with similar language, like Illinois.

An abuser or trafficker could literally coerce this 15-year-old into having an abortion, drive her to the clinic, pay for the abortion, and not be arrested or prosecuted. Abortion clinics could not be required to report the abuse. With this type of protection for the abuser, Ohioans could expect child sexual abuse and trafficking to increase across the state.

If Issue 1 passes, painful late-term abortions on fully-formed babies who, if born, could survive outside the womb, may become legal. Any physician could claim that the abortion is necessary for the woman’s physical or emotional “health,” even if that doctor is the abortionist who would benefit financially from performing the procedure. Abortion is legal in Ohio for up to 22 weeks. Contraception, fertility treatments, and miscarriage care have never been at risk. This extreme amendment is a trojan horse. Let’s not allow its ambiguous language to cloud our common sense. Issue 1 is unsafe for women, bad for parents, and could permit painful abortions of full-term babies.

Have the conversation. Ask your friends and family to vote NO on Issue 1.