As Election Day in Ohio nears, hundreds of pro-life students from across the state are rallying to defeat the Issue 1 referendum, which would amend the Ohio Constitution to establish a right to abortion.
The proposed amendment would add a section to the state’s Bill of Rights that would create a new right to “reproductive freedom,” which includes, but is not limited to, abortion. A yes vote would establish a new constitutional right to abortion, and a no vote would reject that language being added to the state constitution.
Although the proposed amendment allows some restrictions after viability, activists fear the vague definitions provided in the text would allow abortions up to the point of birth and would end parental consent and notification for minors receiving abortions.
Protect Women Ohio, the pro-life coalition working to urge voters to reject the referendum, is running advertisements against the proposal, but its fundraising is outmatched about 3 to 1 by the pro-abortion campaign, which has received millions of dollars from out-of-state groups that support abortion.
“We can’t match their advertising dollars, so the ground game, the work at the door [is very important],” Michelle Ashley, the Ohio director for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, told CNA.
SBA is leading the door-to-door canvassing effort to urge a no vote on Issue 1. The group’s canvassers include about 200 college students who, just this past weekend, knocked on 22,168 doors to encourage voters to reject the proposed amendment.
“It’s an issue that’s really impacting our community and the people around [us] and our society,” Rachel Brake, a senior at Franciscan University of Steubenville, who has been canvassing door-to-door against the amendment, told CNA.
Brake said there has been a mix of positive and negative interactions, but she believes the message behind the “no” campaign expresses “values that most of [the voters] agree with.”