COLUMBUS, OHIO - NOVEMBER 8: People vote at a polling location at Indianola Church of Christ on Election Day on November 8, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. Republican candidate for U.S. Senate JD Vance and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) are running in a tightly contested race. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Abortion Isn’t the Only Right Ohioans Turned Out To Protect This Week

On August 8, Ohio voters blocked Issue 1, a Republican-backed amendment to the state’s constitution that would make future amendments more difficult to pass. This amendment was introduced a mere four months before Ohioans will vote on whether abortion will become a protected right under their state constitution, and was a direct effort to prevent that from happening.

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Issue 1 was rejected by voters by a significant margin, despite efforts by pro-Issue 1 groups to spread misinformation and lies about campaigns by anti-Issue 1-ers. Perhaps the main reason voters from both sides of the aisle were against the amendment is not because it would specifically limit abortion access in the state, but rather because it would bottleneck the democratic process as a whole.

Since Issue 1 would increase the margin needed to make any amendments to the state constitution, the vote to block it means that Ohioans have chosen to protect themselves from any possible infringements on their rights in the future. Issue 1 could have had a much larger (and more harmful) impact on the state, not to mention it would all but silence the voice of the people when it comes to their role in their government.

Today’s politics are rife with hot-button issues, issues that the average American would certainly like to assert loud and clear at the ballot box. This includes Republicans (who came out in not-insignificant numbers to oppose Issue 1), who are smart enough to know that a wad of abortion-restricting red tape like Issue 1 is not worth the long-term danger it puts Ohioans in when it comes to passing future amendments.

To shift the discourse around Issue 1 away from the upcoming abortion vote, Republicans had one more trick up their sleeve: make it about trans people. The easiest target by the hateful Right these days, the transgender community was thrown into the amendment’s campaign chaos, as the subject of an ad supporting Issue 1 (content warning: transphobia). Dragging an entirely different marginalized group into the mix only drew attention to another set of rights at stake in this election cycle: those of the trans community, trans kids and teens, trans athletes, and drag performers.

Considering the fact that Republicans are the “small government” group (you know, the ones that don’t want laws interfering with their God-given rights and freedoms), and supposedly prioritize the voice of the people more than anything else, Issue 1 sure seemed like a direct attack on the voting process—not to mention how much room it leaves for future impositions on individual rights by the government. A bit more strategy and a bit less throw-stuff-at-the-problem-and-see-what-sticks might serve Republican lawmakers a bit better next time.

(featured image: Drew Angerer, Getty Images)

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Scout (she/her/hers) is a freelance news writer for The Mary Sue. When not scrolling Twitter, she's thinking about scrolling Twitter. She likes short walks on the beach, glitter pens, and burnt coffee. She does not read the comments.