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Ohio activists may seek a ballot issue to amend state constitution to protect abortion access

Ohio activists are considering constitutional amendments to protect abortion.

The Supreme Court’s decision in June on a Mississippi abortion law case led to the overturning of Roe versus Wade.  The Supreme Court handed regulation of abortion access back to the states. Since that decision in Dobbs versus Jackson Women’s  Health Organization, there has been speculation as to how reaction to the Supreme Court decision would impact the political landscape and voters.

On Tuesday, the first post-Roe test came in Kansas, where voters were asked to approve a constitutional amendment that would have stripped protection for abortion rights from that state's constitution. A 2019 decision by the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state's constitution protected a woman's right to an abortion. That decision pointed to the first section of the Kansas Bill of Rights.  The majority of justices concluded those rights extended to women and the ability to make decisions about their own bodies.

To counter that, anti-abortion advocates introduced the charter amendment that said no such right exists.  But voters in that deep red state voted against the amendment, preserving abortion rights. Is that a sign of how the abortion issue may play out at the polls? Abortion rights groups in Ohio and others may seek a ballot issue to amend Ohio's constitution, making abortion a right. Current Ohio law already restricts abortions after cardiac activity is detected— usually around six weeks-- before many women know they're pregnant. Lawmakers could seek a full abortion ban in the upcoming session.

The National Football League says it will appeal the six-game suspension handed to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.  On Monday, league disciplinary officer, former federal judge Sue L. Robinson, who was approved by the NFL and the players' union, ruled on the six-week suspension with no fine. The league had been a suspension of at least a year and millions in fines. Watson has been accused of two dozen women of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions. Robinson made it a point to say that his conduct, which fit the NFL's description of sexual assault, was nonviolent. A former New Jersey attorney general will hear the appeal.

Cuyahoga County Council has advanced to a second reading a proposal to pour millions of public tax dollars into renovating the Global Center for Health Innovation. Tourism officials are advocating the renovation to fully connect the center—once known as the medical mart—with the new Huntington Convention Center and the Hilton Cleveland Downton.


Glenn Forbes, Supervising Producer, Ideastream Public Media  
Anna Huntsman, Akron-Canton Reporter, Ideastream Public Media   
Andy Chow, News Editor, Statehouse News Bureau, Ohio Public Radio/TV  

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."