The Ohio Roundtable Challenges Legal Construction of Reproductive Decisions Amendment

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today petitions were presented to the Ohio Secretary of State to place a proposed Constitutional Amendment on the November Ohio Ballot. The language of that amendment attempts for the first time since 1803 to create a new civil right as part of the Ohio Bill of Rights, defined as the right to “reproductive decisions”. 

The “reproductive decisions” proposed Ohio Amendment may be the most poorly defined language we have ever seen.

Melanie Elsey, National Legislative Director of the American Policy Roundtable stated: 

“In the creation of a law, especially a Constitutional Amendment, words matter — a lot. ‘Reproductive decisions’ is written with an ‘s’ at the end by design. In the proposed language five items are included as ‘reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on: contraception; fertility treatment; continuing one’s own pregnancy; miscarriage care; and abortion.’ The first four on that list are not matters of legal contest in Ohio. There is no reason for those issues to be in the Constitution. The final item at the bottom of this list is abortion. By defining this new civil right in the plural and including, but not limited to the list of five items, the authors’ clear intention is to keep the list open-ended for the future. This raises the question, what other forms of ‘reproductive decisions’ will be added by the courts in years to come?”

Rob Walgate, Vice-President of the American Policy Roundtable and Ohio Roundtable questioned: 

“We have to wonder how many people who signed this petition were able to read the proposed amendment in full before signing. Will the authors of this proposed amendment be honest with Ohio voters and explain the full meaning of unlimited “reproductive decisions” as well as several other terms that remain undefined in this proposal?”

David Zanotti, CEO of the American Policy Roundtable noted: 

“Over the past 43 years the Roundtable has been involved in the construction, campaigns and litigation of a host of ballot issues in a number of states including multiple constitutional amendments. This proposed Ohio Amendment may be the most poorly defined language we have ever seen. Regardless of a person’s position on the question of abortion regulation, all Ohioans should reject this measure at the polls because poor legal work does not belong in the Ohio Bill of Rights.”

The American Policy Roundtable was founded in 1980 in Ohio. APR is a non-profit, non-partisan independent public policy organization that supports no political parties or candidates. The American Policy Roundtable is the parent company of Ohio Roundtable and The Public Square® Media Network which produces radio, video and online programs broadcast daily on over 200 stations coast-to-coast. For more information or further comments, please contact us at 440-572-1796.

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