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What the Kansas abortion vote might mean for a ballot effort here in Ohio

 Abortion rights supporters protest at the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday, June 26, 2022
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Abortion rights supporters protest at the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday, June 26, 2022

By a nearly two to one margin earlier this week, voters in Kansas turned down a measure that would have stripped protection for abortion rights from that state’s constitution.

In Ohio, it's too late to mount a similar effort in time for this November's election, but some groups are considering putting a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights on the ballot next year.

Kellie Copeland, executive director with ProChoice Ohio, said the experience in Kansas should make those who oppose abortion rights in Ohio think twice.

“This is really a cautionary tale for anti-choice politicians," Copeland said. "In Kansas, their constitution clearly stated that it protected abortion rights. And anti-choice politicians there rushed to the ballot in the hopes that they could strip those rights from Kansas. And they messed around and they found out. And I think that politicians in Ohio such as Gov. DeWine and Attorney General Dave Yost, members of the state Legislature and specifically members of the state Supreme Court should take heed, that they should look at this and understand that if they try to eliminate abortion access completely in Ohio, they will pay a similar price.”

The president of Ohio Right to Life, Mike Gonidakis, has a different take on what happened in Kansas.

“It’s not an apples to apples comparison," Gonidakis said. "In fact, it is completely opposite. You see, in Kansas, they had an election on a very important issue, life, in August. If that same election were held in November when people are actually participating, the outcome would have been different just based on the voting trends, the demographics and the conservative nature of the state of Kansas. But at the end of the day, for whatever reason it is, I’m unfamiliar with it, they had this vote in August when most people are on family vacation, tune out, checked out or getting ready to put their kids back in schools."

Around 47% of registered voters in Kansas voted in Tuesday’s election. That’s more than double the number of Kansas voters who cast ballots in the 2018 midterm election.

The Ohio groups considering putting abortion related-issues on the ballot in Ohio are still in the planning stages at this point. Abortion rights supporters want to overturn the current law that prohibits abortion once fetal cardiac activity can be detected. That's usually around six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.