The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA), an anti-abortion rights group, railed against Ohio’s rejection of a constitutional amendment at the center of the abortion rights battle in the state.
Ohio voters Tuesday rejected a ballot measure, known as Issue 1, that would have raised the threshold for changing the state’s constitution from a simple majority to a 60 percent supermajority. Abortion advocates were against the proposal, arguing it would’ve made it more difficult to pass a separate ballot measure in November that would enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution.
“It is a sad day for Ohio and a warning for pro-life states across the nation,” a statement from SBA wrote Tuesday night. “Millions of dollars and liberal dark money flooded Ohio to ensure they have a path to buy their extreme policies in a pro-life state. Tragically, some sat on the sideline while outsider liberal groups poured millions into Ohio.”
The statement claims progressives funneled millions from outside groups to “mislead the people of Ohio.”
Campaign finance data shows the push against Issue 1, called One person One Vote, raised nearly 85 percent of its $14.8 million in contributions from outside Ohio. Several of the largest donations came from so-called dark money groups who are not legally obligated to disclose their donors, including progressive Sixteen Thirty Fund, based in Washington, D.C. and the Tides Foundation, a social justice group based in California.
Travis Rideout, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, previously told the Associated Press it is increasingly common to see out-of-state money in state-level races, especially in polarizing issues like abortion.
SBA said in its statement a coalition of pro-life Ohio residents attempted to “fight parent rights opponents,” but “the silence of the establishment and business community in Ohio left a vacuum too large to overcome.” SBA argued “attacks” on state constitutions are the “national playbook of the extreme pro-abortion Left.”
“So long as the Republicans and their supporters take the ostrich strategy and bury their heads in the sand, they will lose again and again,” the statement continued.
In November, Ohio voters will decide on the ballot measure that would establish a “fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” with “reasonable limits.” Akin to the standard once set under Roe v. Wade, the amendment would allow abortion up to the point when a fetus can survive outside of the womb, usually around 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
The proposed amendment states “every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s pregnancy, miscarriage care and abortion.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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