New women’s rights amendment proposed to potentially appear on the ballot this fall

New womens rights amendment proposed to potentially appear on the ballot this fall

Riley Lavine, Staff Writer

An earlier version of this article stated that the women’s rights amendment was already on the November ballot. However, advocates of the amendment are still gathering signatures on their petition needed for the amendment formally appear on the ballot. This article was updated 3/20 to reflect this information. 

The overturning of Roe v. Wade to state legislatures last June was a monumental Supreme Court decision that impacted every woman’s right to an abortion. As a majority Republican state, women in Ohio run the risk of losing their right to have an abortion. However, Ohio voters aren’t giving up. On Feb. 21, 2023, Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights (OPRR) submitted language for a constitutional amendment titled “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety” that would guarantee Ohioans access to abortion was submitted to the fall ballot. An article released by AP  explains that the language of the ballot is similar to the constitutional amendment approved by Michigan voters in November. This amendment would require restrictions past a fetus’s viability to be proved by evidence of patient health and safety benefits.

According to an article published by NBC 4,  Ohio Attorney General David Yost certified the initiative’s language. Although this is a big step towards change in abortion rights in Ohio, it is going to take a lot of campaigning and support to actually receive official action.

The ballot board still has to approve the amendment and the Ohioans for Reproductive must collect more than 400,000 signatures by July 5.

Conservative opponents of this amendment and state lawmakers in the Ohio General Assembly are planning to make it more difficult to amend the Ohio Constitution by raising the number of votes needed to approve a new amendment.

Although many conservative lawmakers are not in favor of this amendment, several conservative students at SHS are. Conservative senior Anthony Giallanza explained his support for the amendment.

“I think this amendment is a good way for lawmakers to have specific requirements regarding this issue and that can end up being beneficial for citizens,” Giallanza said.

As this amendment may appear on the ballot this fall, current seniors and some juniors may have the opportunity to vote on this issue. SHS senior Ava Shaker, one of the head members of the Young Democrats Club at SHS, shares the importance of students voting in elections.

“That’s why next week Young Democrats and Young Conservatives are having a voter registration drive, so anyone who is turning 18 by Nov. 23 can vote,” Shaker said.

Shaker also expressed that when young people do get to vote in the fall, it is important that they fight for important rights and thoroughly research everything that is going to be on the ballot.

Many SHS students have strong opinions about this new amendment. SHS senior Lindsay Lebowitz speaks about the idea of voting and standing up for the issues people believe in.

“It’s important that students who will be eligible to vote by November are familiar with this possible new amendment and are able to vote in order to help women’s rights in Ohio to the best of their ability,” Lebowitz said. “This is a very important issue that, especially in Ohio, needs to be addressed because of our Republican based majority.”

While if passed, this amendment will provide substantial change for Ohio voters, SHS senior Sari Zager shares her views on limitations of the possible amendment and the changes she would like to see in the future.

“I think this amendment would be a good start to help women’s rights in Ohio, because right now we practically have nothing, so it is important to get voting on the ballot,” Zager said.

For students who are interested in the proposed amendment, there are many petitions and organizations that may influence this process and the possible acceptance of this amendment.

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