Two days after voters in Ohio soundly rejected an un-democratic scheme to make it harder to amend the state constitution, the Christian Nationalist group American Family Association (AFA) issued an email with the tagline: “Lesson learned from Issue 1’s defeat: The abortion landscape has changed.”
If you’ve not followed it that closely, the fight over Issue 1 in Ohio was really a proxy battle over abortion. Conservative lawmakers in the state passed legislation banning abortions after six weeks of gestation. Polls show that most Ohioans don’t agree with this, and they’re taking action. This November, they’ll vote on whether to change the state constitution to overturn the law and protect abortion rights.
Ohioans support reproductive freedom
Polls show the measure gaining about 58% support. This led Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a candidate for U.S. Senate, to get a bright idea: change the rules to require a 60% margin to change the Ohio Constitution.
That’s what Ohio residents were voting on last week – and they rejected it by 14 points.
Anti-abortion groups are in a tizzy. Writing for the AFA, Steve Deace, a far-right radio talk show host, recommended arguing that fetuses deserve all the rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – in other words, keep reaching for the most extreme arguments out there.
Choice wins even in ‘red’ states
But ramping up the rhetoric isn’t likely to sway the American people. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, residents in six states have voted to protect abortion rights. Three of those states – California, Michigan and Vermont – aren’t surprising. But the list also includes Kansas, Montana and Kentucky, which are hardly bastions of progressive politics. All indications are that more states will be joining that list in the months and years to come. (Litigation is under way in other states, such as the case filed by AU and its allies in Missouri that challenges the state’s abortion bans as a violation of church-state separation.)
The simple truth is, Americans are angry at the loss of their reproductive rights, and the Christian Nationalists’ bag of standard tricks, such as adopting even more extreme positions, ignoring the clear voice of the people and attempting to undermine democracy, are no longer working.
Yes, the abortion landscape has changed: People are fighting back against religious extremists trying take away everyone’s right to make their own decisions about reproductive health care based on a narrow set of religious beliefs.
It’s called democracy. Get used to it, AFA.