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Friday, March 24, 2023

Abortion rights proposal moves a step closer to Ohio ballot


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Backers of a proposal to enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio Constitution can begin collecting the more than 413,000 voter signatures they would need to put the issue on the ballot this fall, after the petition cleared another hurdle Monday.

It moves on to the signature-gathering phase now that the Ohio Ballot Board has confirmed the petition language contains only one proposed amendment.

The proposal would assure access to abortion until what is called viability, when the fetus is able to survive outside the womb. It also would protect caregivers from being punished for performing the procedure or aiding the process.

Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights and Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom are aiming to get that proposed constitutional amendment on ballots this November.

Under state law, the groups must collect 413,446 valid voter signatures — 10% of the votes in the last governor’s race — statewide, across at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Their deadline is July 5 to make the Nov. 7 ballot.

They say they are aiming to gather at least 700,000 signatures to ensure they meet the requirement.

Anti-abortion groups are vowing to fight the proposal and are already urging Ohioans to vote against it if it makes it to the ballot.

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