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Setting The Record Straight

By The Senate Democrats
November 7, 2023
The Democratic Standard

On The Record has once again proven itself to be about nothing more than it claims: views, no matter what any logic or reputable sources say. The website’s most recent attempt to justify those views with “facts” is riddled with misrepresentation and inflammatory, inaccurate language.

On The Record’s response to an Associated Press article totes the GOP’s talking points on Issue 1 – that it is too extreme for Ohio. But this world of “abortion on demand” fundamentally misrepresents what Issue 1 is. As Leader Antonio explains, Issue 1 does not invalidate existing laws about abortion. There is no Wild West, “free abortions at any time” scenario that would ensue. Issue 1 simply creates a reasonable right to choice. The amendment protects the right to an abortion until fetal viability (the point at which the fetus can potentially survive outside the womb), which varies on a case-by-case basis but usually falls around the 23-24 week mark. Even in the Roe era, courts upheld laws putting reasonable restrictions on abortions. Issue 1 would not change that, and to claim otherwise shows a willful ignorance of  constitutional and legislative processes.

If On The Record wishes to critique sources from the AP, they should first check the bias of their own sources. The article relies heavily on Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s opinion on Issue 1. A quick look at Yost’s X/Twitter account shows that he is not an unbiased source. Yost’s statement has been lambasted for its partisanship, lack of even superficial consideration of benefits from Issue 1, and clear intent to mislead. Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann lays out the fundamental problems with Yost’s so-called analysis in this piece from the Ohio Capitol Journal:

“Yost’s entire analysis is flawed because it is based on the false premise that if the amendment passes, all state laws related to abortion will be reviewed using what he calls an ‘exclusive scrutiny test.’ There is just one problem: no such standard of review exists in law – Yost has created it out of whole cloth to support his arguments. In reality, the constitutionality of Ohio’s existing abortion restrictions will be determined using the strict scrutiny test – the same standard utilized by courts under Roe v. Wade.”

Dann’s analysis extensively details the indefensible legal leaps by Yost to reach his fearmongering conclusions.

As the original article states, abortion access is an emotional, complex issue that can only be discussed with good faith, empathy, and nuance. But too often, anti-choice extremists use inflammatory language to avoid that nuance.

The article conflates having abortions available past the six-week mark, before most women are even aware they are pregnant, with access to an abortion at any stage in the pregnancy. Additionally, it paints a picture of doctors who get rich exclusively off of providing access to abortions maliciously, forcing these procedures on women and lying to them to make money. But that is not reality. As former Attorney General Dann puts it, any physician who falsifies risk assessment would be subject to loss of license and severe sanctions. In fact, Dann cites previous Supreme Court rulings.

“The majority of the Supreme Court rejected such an interpretation noting that ‘substantial medical authority’ must exist to support the medical necessity required for the health exception. Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S.914, 938 (2000). In other words, the U.S. Supreme Court has already rejected the doomsday scenario that Yost suggests would arise under the Amendment.”

Life and Health Exceptions

On The Record additionally paints an unrealistic post-Issue 1 world where, according to Yost’s baseless assessment of the majority health opinion, any action that does not protect the health of the mother would not be taken. Issue 1 advocates and abortion providers are not soulless baby killers. Obviously, in rare cases where an abortion is required after the point of fetal viability to protect the health of the mother, actions would still be taken to protect the life of the fetus. Even still, the state has the right to regulate what doctors do with the fetus, just as they did before the passage of Issue 1.

As Dann cites “…nearly all of Ohio’s existing regulations are likely to survive if the Amendment passes as long as they advance a legitimate governmental interest and use the least restrictive means to accomplish that goal (a political principle shared by conservative and liberal Ohioans alike).”

Abortion and Race

When Black women face maternal mortality rates two and a half times higher than white women, restricted abortion access becomes a health care issue. Studies have shown that restrictive abortion laws do not just lead to an increase in pregnancy-related deaths but an increase in maternal mortality for Black women.

This leads to the fundamental truth of Issue 1 — Ohio Republicans want to take away an individual’s right to make personal health decisions.


Read the full language of 1 here.