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Our Response to the Associated Press on the Abortion Amendment

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers: AP knowingly published fake news about Issue 1
By Michele Reynolds
November 3, 2023
On The Record

Editor’s Note:  Even though the vote on this issue did not go our way, we are keeping this piece posted on OTR so readers can see for themselves whether the author's predictions following the vote come true.

We have a professional duty and a moral obligation as members of the Ohio State Senate to explain our ideas, actions, and policies to voters.

We can’t do that effectively if the state media censors us.

The newspapers claim they don’t censor us – but they don’t tell you about the editorials they refuse to run. Critics say the papers won’t run our editorials because they have “misinformation.” 


The Columbus Dispatch refused to run an editorial that expressed our belief that men can’t have babies. Does that sound like misinformation to you?

The Plain Dealer refused to run our response to a lengthy and error-filled hit piece on our state legislature by the national publication The New Yorker. Do you know who owns The New Yorker? The same company that owns The Plain Dealer. 

Enough is enough. This woke censorship has gotten out of hand. 

We launched On the Record to do the same thing as our press releases accomplish – inform the public. The difference? We are doing it in long form so we can explain our positions thoroughly. And we are going to the public directly while bypassing our newspapers’ politically correct filters.   

This seems to be driving the state media mad.

A perfect example is the factually challenged hit piece the Associated Press just launched on OTR and our opposition to Issue 1 – the ballot initiative that would permanently place the nation’s most radical pro-abortion law in Ohio’s Constitution.

As I wrote in last week’s OTR, “We understand that Americans can have legitimate differences of opinion on abortion. It is an extremely difficult, complex, and emotional issue. And good people can come to different conclusions in good faith.”

That is not what is happening here. All the evidence indicates the Associated Press is knowingly spreading false information about Issue 1 while having the nerve to accuse us of spreading misinformation. 

The AP is using biased out of state “experts” to spread its own misinformation. One is a professor and pro-abortion zealot with a law degree who has written more than 50 articles on the subject. The other is a pro-censorship enthusiast from Harvard

We have an expert, too. He happens to serve as the state’s top legal expert. 

Attorney General Dave Yost has written an exhaustive and publicly available legal analysis of Issue 1 that the AP conveniently but unethically chose to ignore in its reporting.  

One can only conclude that is because the attorney general’s analysis effectively refutes every one of the AP’s charges against us and validates our charge that they are intentionally misleading the public.

Here are AP’s claims and here are the facts.

Abortion on demand

AP claims our assertion that Issue 1 would legalize abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy is false. 

Yost wrote: “Ohio law currently bans abortions after the 20th week post-fertilization, based on the research that indicates that a fetus can feel pain at that stage. If Issue 1 passes, this law would be invalidated, and these abortions would be permitted.”

That analysis is not a partisan take. The liberal editorial board of the Toledo Blade agrees with this assessment. 

In a editorial opposing the amendment titled “Issue 1 overreach,” the Blade concludes the amendment would “likely liberalize abortion policy beyond the rulings of Roe vs. Wade.” The editors added, “This amendment to the state constitution goes too far and should be defeated.” 

It is not difficult to conclude this is why the editorial boards of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal have also declined to endorse Issue 1. 

Late-term abortions

AP claims the fact Issue 1 will allow abortions “at any stage of pregnancy” is false – implying that late-term abortions would not be permitted.

The AP is incorrect, as the analysis above demonstrates. To reiterate, if the Ohio law banning abortions after the 20th week is invalidated, “these abortions would be permitted.”

The Toledo Blade agrees: “With just one doctor’s say-so, this amendment would allow late-term elective abortions of nearly fully grown unborn babies, something Ohioans should not be willing to stomach as a constitutional right.”

Dismemberment abortions 

AP claims our assertion that Issue 1 will allow “the dismemberment of fully conscious children” is false.

Yost explains, “Ohio law regulates the methods used to perform abortions later in pregnancy, dilation and evacuation abortions (what Ohio law calls “dismemberment abortions”), or dilation and extraction abortions (what Ohio law calls partial-birth feticide).” 

“Ohio’s partial-birth law was upheld in federal court under the Casey test. 11 Those laws would both be invalidated and these abortions would be permitted.”

He also refers to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (20-week limit) by observing, “Ohio law currently bans abortions after the 20th week post-fertilization, based on the research that indicates that a fetus can feel pain at that stage. If Issue 1 passes, this law would be invalidated, and these abortions would be permitted.”

Life and Health Exceptions

The AP objects to our contention that Issue 1 “ignores Ohio’s existing exceptions for life and health of the mother in favor of establishing abortion on demand for all nine months.”

Yost describes those current exceptions: “Ohio law currently bars abortions after a fetus is able to live outside the womb with a health exception for serious medical conditions.”

“The health need must be certified by a second doctor, not in business with the doctor performing the abortion. The doctor performing the procedure must make best efforts to have the baby saved, such as by having a second doctor present and performing the abortion in a hospital with NICU emergency care available.”

The attorney general concludes, “Issue 1 would likely eliminate those protections, as the majority medical opinion would likely hold that these provisions do little or nothing to protect the life or health of the mother.”

Post-viability abortions

AP claims Issue 1 would not open the door to abortion after viability based on a loose definition of a woman’s health because, “Physicians say the scenario is inconsistent with the standards they uphold for professional conduct.” 

Really? Which doctors? They don’t say. 

Do they think Planned Parenthood’s doctors will uphold the highest standards of professional conduct over their financial incentive to perform as many abortions as possible?

The attorney general’s opinion is clear in saying that by not defining “health” the amendment could justify abortion at any time based on mental health or familial factors. That shows why post-viability abortions (essentially, abortion on demand – at any time) are a likely possibility based on how nebulous and broadly written Issue 1 is:

“The Amendment likely also protects post-viability abortions under certain circumstances. On one hand, it says that ‘abortion may be prohibited after fetal viability.’ It then puts that assessment in one person’s hands — the doctor performing the abortion. It provides that in all cases, the doctor determines whether the fetus is viable and whether the pregnant woman’s health justifies the post-viability abortion. In addition, the Amendment does not define ‘health,’ and previous court cases have said health, when not otherwise defined, can include other concerns, including mental health and ‘familial’ factors (such as how many children someone has) and maternal age.”

So, let’s summarize. Late term, partial birth abortion would be legal in cases where  mental health is cited as a concern, or when the pregnant woman believes she has too many children already. The AP and its liberal friends from Planned Parenthood don’t want to report that. 

Again, that analysis is not a partisan take – as evidenced by the Toledo Blade’s opposition to Issue 1.

Planned Parenthood’s Legacy

AP whines, “Another senator’s entry repeats without context a decades-old narrative that high rates of abortion among Black women are driven by an ‘evil’ and ‘predatory’ abortion industry.”

AP will have to take up that beef with the New York Times, which reported the legacy of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger “includes supporting eugenics, a discredited belief in improving the human race through selective breeding, often targeted at poor people, those with disabilities, immigrants and people of color.”

The head of the abortion giant’s New York branch explained they were taking their founder’s name off their building because of “Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color.”

And the head of the national Planned Parenthood organization finally acknowledged “it disagreed with Ms. Sanger’s decision to speak to members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1926 as she tried to spread her message about birth control.”


Facts are stubborn things. 

When the media confronts fact they don’t like they call them misinformation. 

Then they smear the messenger. 

That was us, in this case.

Before OTR we had no choice but to grin and bear it.

Those days are over.

Senator Michele Reynolds represents Ohio Senate District 3