Ohio Supreme Court Rules ‘Unborn Child’ Can Remain on Ballot Language

Ohio Supreme Court. Seated from left: Justice Patrick F. Fischer, Chief Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, and Justice R. Patrick Dewine. Standing from left: Justice Jennifer Brunner, Justice Michael P. Donnelly, Justice Melody J. Stewart, and Justice Joseph T. Deters

In a significant pro-life victory on Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court sided with the GOP-controlled ballot board, allowing the term “unborn child” to be used in the upcoming November ballot to enshrine abortion in the state’s constitution.

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This decision comes after a lawsuit was filed by Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights and five other petitioners, that wanted the term “fetus” in the ballot language.

The petitioners contended that the ballot’s “unborn child” wording was politically motivated.

However, the state’s highest court dismissed this claim, stating that the language did not amount to “improper persuasion.”

The Secretary of State’s office expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision.

Mary Cianciolo, a representative for the office, communicated to NBC News, “This ruling ensures Ohio voters will have a comprehensive understanding of the proposed measure when casting their votes.”

However, the court did find fault with a specific portion of the ballot board’s language.

The phrase “citizens of the State” was deemed misleading. The court directed the board to revise the language to clarify that the proposed amendment pertains to the actions of the ‘State.’

Responding to the ruling, a spokesperson for Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, Lauren Blauvelt, emphasized that the amendment intended to safeguard Ohioans’ rights regarding personal health care decisions.

She criticized the ballot board for attempting to “mislead voters.”

With the November election approaching, the ballot board is expected to reconvene swiftly to implement the court-ordered change.

This controversy emerges as Ohioans prepare to vote on an amendment that seeks to protect abortion access up to the point of fetal viability.

Notably, last month, a proposal that would have made it more challenging to adopt such constitutional amendments was decisively defeated by Ohio voters.

The Ohio Supreme Court has halted the enforcement of the “heartbeat” bill, which seeks to ban abortions six weeks into pregnancy.

Frank LaRose, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, who is responsible for the ballot board and is a known opponent of the upcoming abortion rights amendment, has termed it a “radical abortion amendment.”

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