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Ohio abortion amendment is an attack on parental rights, pro-life groups say as initiative clears key hurdle

A proposed amendment that would enshrine abortion rights in Ohio’s constitution is being decried as an attack on parental rights by prominent pro-life groups.

The amendment, which was drafted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio, declares that “every individual has the right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions” on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care and abortion.

A coalition of pro-abortion groups submitted the required number of signatures Wednesday to get the amendment on the ballot in November. State officials must now review the signatures for potential errors before voters can decide on it.

“This amendment is dangerous for the women and children of Ohio,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement. “It removes parents from some of their minor children’s most important health decisions such as parental notification before an abortion. It would eliminate basic health and safety standards for women. And it would permit late term abortion after the baby can feel pain and even right up until birth.” 

Anti-abortion activists

Activists participate in a Celebrate Life Day rally at the Lincoln Memorial on June 24, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The amendment doesn’t mention sex-change operations, but critics argue that its “loosely defined” language, which prohibits any law that “directly or indirectly” would “burden” or interfere” with “reproductive decisions,” would leave parents out of the conversation if their child chooses to pursue an abortion or sex change surgery. 

Protect Women Ohio (PWO), which is leading the fight against the amendment, points to comments made in February by Jessie Hill, an attorney for the ACLU of Ohio, who told local media that conflicting laws “should not be enforced,” as evidence of the organization’s offensive position regarding parental rights.  

“When you pass a constitutional amendment, it doesn’t just automatically erase everything and start over,” Hill said. “But it would mean that laws that conflict with it cannot be enforced, should not be enforced.”

ACLU Ohio did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Fox News’ Kendall Tietz contributed to this report.

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