Several Ohio Republican lawmakers are proposing to strip the courts of authority to review cases related to the implementation of the recently passed Abortion Amendment Number 1.
In a statement released Thursday, four Republican lawmakers claimed without evidence that there was “foreign election interference” in the vote to pass Question 1, and threatened to block the courts’ ability to interpret the new constitutional amendment.
“To avoid harm from pro-abortion courts, Ohio lawmakers will consider stripping the judiciary of jurisdiction over this ambiguous ballot initiative,” the lawmakers said. “The Ohio Legislature will consider on its own what changes, if any, to existing laws, based on public hearings and input from legal experts on both sides.”
Issue 1 passed Tuesday with 57 percent of the vote. It creates a constitutional right to reproductive freedom in the state, which protects decisions about contraception, fertility treatment, continuation of a pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion until ‘to fetal viability.
It allows the state to prohibit abortion after fetal viability, which is typically between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, except when necessary to protect the life or health of the mother.
But Republicans in the General Assembly have pledged to fight the measure.
“Issue 1 does not repeal a single Ohio law, in fact, it does not even mention one,” state Rep. Bill Dean said in a statement released Thursday. “The language of the amendment is dangerously vague and unconstrained, and can be weaponized to attack parental rights or defend rapists, pedophiles and human traffickers.”
Ohio’s six-week abortion ban, signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine (R) in 2019, contains no exceptions for rape or incest. The case is currently pending in court, but it could have taken effect if Case 1 had failed.
In a separate statement, Senate President Matt Huffman (R) said the measure’s passage was “just the beginning of a revolving door of election campaigns to repeal or replace Question 1.”
The first version will take effect in December, but it won’t be implemented until courts apply the new constitutional standard to abortion-related lawsuits, including those challenging the current ban.
The Ohio Supreme Court, with a Republican majority, is the final authority on reviewing laws to determine whether they comply with the state constitution.
“It’s very important that the new constitution be respected,” said Lauren Blauvelt, co-president of Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights. “So all of us who continue to fight litigation…will continue to work together to ensure that the restrictions and bans currently in place are no longer in effect.”
On the other side, Ohio Democrats announced legislation Thursday to repeal various existing laws that directly or indirectly restrict abortion care in Ohio. But Republicans hold strong majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, making passage difficult.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.