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What does Ohio Issue 1 mean for birth control?

Black and white photo of a Planned Parenthood sign with text that says Ohio Issue 1, What does Issue 1 mean for birth control?
Lauren Green
Ideastream Public Media
In addition to ensuring abortion access, the proposed Issue 1 amendment would also protect the right to other reproductive health choices including contraception.

Though abortion is the hot topic for Ohio's Issue 1, there are other reproductive rights included in the proposed amendment this November.

State Issue 1, or the Right to Make Reproductive Decisions Including Abortion Initiative, is a proposed amendment that would enshrine reproductive rights for individuals in Ohio's constitution if passed, meaning the state would not be able to interfere with or punish individuals for their reproductive decisions, according to the ballot language. That includes decisions on abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care and continuing pregnancy, the language states.

How will Issue 1 impact contraception?

In addition to ensuring abortion access, the proposed amendment would also protect the right to other reproductive health choices, its ballot language stating, "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 ballot language goes on to state that approval of the amendment would ensure that the state cannot interfere with or penalize individuals who exercise the aforementioned reproductive actions.

"It creates a state constitutional right to access an abortion or other reproductive health options, including contraception, that the legislature won't be able to infringe by passing things like abortion bans or contraception bans," said Abigail Moncrieff, an associate professor at Cleveland State University College of Law.

Moncrieff also noted that with every law comes grey area up for interpretation.

"There is some ambiguity — a court will have to decide what qualifies as a fertility treatment, what qualifies as contraception, what qualifies as an abortion, where the viability line falls. There are all kinds of things that could be subject to litigation even after this amendment passes," Moncrieff explained.

Frank LaRose, Ohio's Secretary of State, previously said state Republicans never planned to outlaw contraception amid their push to ban abortion.

"No reasonable person is talking about banning the use of contraceptives. Let’s be clear about this and stop the fear-mongering," LaRose said during an NBC4 debate on August's Issue 1 held in July.

Nationwide concerns over attempts to ban contraceptives remain, particularly after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Court should "reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell" amid the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Griswold v Connecticut ruled that an 1879 Connecticut law banning contraception was unconstitutional.

Learn more about Issue 1

What is Ohio Issue 1 on reproductive rights?
What does Ohio Issue 1 mean for abortion?
What's the difference between August's Ohio Issue 1 and November's?

November General Election dates

Registration deadline: Oct. 10
Military & Overseas absentee voting: Sept. 22 - Nov. 6
Early in-person voting: Oct. 11 - Nov. 5
Vote-by-mail: Oct. 11 - Nov. 6 (Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 6.)
Election Day: Nov. 7, 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

How to vote

The deadline to vote in the November General Election was Oct. 10. Update your registration information and check your registration status on the Ohio Secretary of State website.

Before you head to the polls, see a sample ballot to prepare your voting plan.

You can find your polling location on this clickable map of Ohio's counties. Clicking your county will take you to your county's Board of Elections website, where you can enter your mailing address to find your polling location's address.

Stephanie Metzger-Lawrence is a digital producer for the engaged journalism team at Ideastream Public Media.