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Opponents of Ohio Ballot Measure Aim to Protect Parental Rights by Restricting Abortion Access

The proposed Ohio constitutional amendment on the fall ballot has sparked a contentious debate over abortion rights and parental rights. While the amendment is worded to secure the right to make reproductive decisions, opponents argue that it threatens parental rights. The opposition campaign, Protect Women Ohio, claims that the amendment would allow minors to end pregnancies and receive gender-related health care without parental permission. Anti-abortion groups are seizing this opportunity to test arguments surrounding parental rights and gender-related health care. Legal experts disagree on the potential impact of the amendment on parental control and access to abortion and gender-related health care for minors. This debate will shape the national conversation on abortion rights and parental rights leading up to the 2020 presidential race.

Anti-abortion groups have faced a series of defeats in statewide ballot fights after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end nationwide abortion rights last year. However, measures protecting access to abortion have succeeded in several states, including Democratic- and Republican-leaning ones. In Ohio, polls indicate that a majority of voters believe abortion should generally be legal. The fight over this Ohio ballot measure reflects a larger effort by abortion rights and anti-abortion groups to shape public opinion on the issue.

Opponents of the amendment argue that the wording of the measure leaves room for interpretation, potentially affecting parents’ ability to control their children’s access to abortion and gender-related health care. They raise concerns about the words “individual” and “reproductive” in the amendment, suggesting that these could provide openings for unrestricted access to abortion and gender-related health care for minors without parental consent. However, legal scholars disagree on whether these arguments hold merit.

The amendment’s proponents argue that the focus on parental rights and gender-related health care is misleading, as the amendment does not explicitly address these issues. They contend that the language of the proposal is clear and is intended to protect reproductive decisions related to contraception, pregnancy continuation, miscarriage, and abortion. They dismiss the claim that the amendment would encompass gender-related health care decisions for minors.

The outcome of the Ohio ballot measure will have important implications for reproductive rights and parental rights in the state. It will also influence the future direction of the abortion rights debate in the United States. The battle over this amendment serves as a microcosm of the larger national struggle over abortion access and highlights the ongoing efforts by both sides to shape the narrative in their favor.

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