A conservative group opposing an effort to enshrine abortion rights into Ohio's constitution announced Wednesday it is launching a $5 million effort to oppose the initiative.
The group, known as Protect Women Ohio, released an ad that will run for four weeks on television and digital platforms as supporters of the constitutional amendment work to place it on the November ballot, according to a press release.
“Moms and dads will be cut out of the most important and life-altering decisions of their child’s life, if this passes,” Molly Smith, a Protect Women Ohio board member, said in a statement, calling the proposal "dangerous."
"Under their proposed amendment to the Ohio constitution, the state 'shall not interfere' with individuals getting abortions or sex changes, meaning you could be cut out of the biggest decision decision of her life," a narrator says in the 30-second ad.
The proposed amendment does not actually reference a person's decision to medically transition. It does say, "every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion."
The proposed amendment goes on to state the the government "shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against either an individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or a person or entity that assists an individual exercising this right."
But the proposal does allow for abortion to be barred after "fetal viability," which is defined as "when the fetus has a significant likelihood of survival outside the uterus with reasonable measures."
The amendment's supporters learned this week that they can begin gathering signatures to place the proposal on November's ballot. Proponents need to gather more than 400,000 signatures from half of the state's counties by July 5 to put the issue to voters, according to Cleveland.com.
Ohio is one of several states where abortion rights groups are working to protect reproductive rights through ballot initiatives. The effort comes after similar measures were successful in the 2022 elections following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which had guaranteed a federal right to an abortion.