By Cara Groves
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Ohio voters passed Issue 1 in the state, which will determine the extent that Ohio will go to protect citizens’ rights to an abortion. The new amendment comes a year and a half after Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022 and marks the start of a new movement that is gaining traction nationwide.
When the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, taking away an individual’s constitutional right to an abortion, Christian voters across the nation celebrated—fifty years of injustice brought by abortion policies would, in theory, end.
Despite the victory for the pro-life movement, individual states had to decide whether they would take a stand for or against abortion and change their state constitution accordingly. And many states—Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Tennessee, and countless others—voted to impose total abortion bans shortly after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Now, a year and a half later, 21 states have either banned abortion entirely or restricted the procedure from occurring earlier in a pregnancy.
But for many pro-choice Ohio voters, following the precedent set by the other conservative states was not in their best interest, as they wanted the freedom to make and carry out their reproductive decisions. Late this summer, voters proposed Issue 1 to be put on the November election ballot. This bill would change the state constitution and ensure that women had the right to make and carry out their reproductive decisions, including abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, and miscarriage care.
“The overruling of Roe v. Wade allowed states to pass whatever legislation they wanted about the issue of abortion. In Ohio, we saw the consequences of that process,” Smith said. “It’s been disappointing for a lot of pro-life people because many of them assume the Republican party is going to be unified about the abortion issue, but it’s clearly been more complicated than that.”
Now that Issue 1 has passed, the Ohio Supreme Court will ultimately decide how the courts understand and uphold the language of the law, as it is relatively broad and vague.
The election results, although perhaps expected, do not diminish the severity of this decision or its ramifications. And now, Christians and pro-life voters will have to address the legislation of abortion differently and find new ways to advocate for change.
“We need to approach it more as a matter of persuasion and not as a matter of raw government power or judicial power,” Smith said. “There’s room for us to still have an impact and to persuade the people of justice of our cause.”
To advocate effectively moving forward, Christians need to support both churches and crisis pregnancy centers and help them find resources to care for women. From a long-term perspective, Christians should also consider moving to cities that are notoriously less evangelical and work to change people’s impressions of the abortion issue.
“For the last 50 years, the assumption has been that if we vote the right way, this will all get taken care of,” Smith said. “It’s not about voting only, it’s not about the courts only, it’s about culture building and cultural influence.”
Despite the results of this election, there is still hope.
Cara Groves is a senior Professional Writing and Information Design and is from Rifle, Colorado. When she is writing, you can find her drinking tea in her favorite coffee shop, reading a good crime novel, or taking pictures of the people and things who mean the most to her.