Memo: Dark Money Push for Abortion-On-Demand in Ohio

February 23, 2023

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: ACLJ Action, Inc.
DATE: February 22, 2023
RE: Ohio Pro-Abortion Amendment Proposal

This week a leftist pro-abortion political action committee and a dark money nonprofit submitted a constitutional amendment to the Ohio Attorney General, beginning the process for including a constitutional amendment on the ballot. 

The proposed amendment would nullify Ohio’s pending heartbeat bill, and could allow abortion up until the point of birth. It would outlaw even the most reasonable restrictions on abortion before 22 weeks, well beyond the point where babies can feel excruciating pain. 

The language is intentionally broad, guaranteeing that the “State shall not directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against” this so-called right to an abortion the Left would like to establish. 

The Amendment language seeks to confuse voters in order to reverse Ohio’s pending heartbeat bill. The proposed text shrouds the issue of abortion by also discussing contraception, fertility treatment, “continuing one’s own pregnancy,” and miscarriage care, even though Ohio has not passed laws against these activities. This fits with the abortion industry’s perpetual distorting narrative that abortion is healthcare, even though their favored policies put the health of women at risk. 

The amendment language also provides a broad “health” exception, which we know will create a loophole that allows abortionists to kill babies up until the point of birth. 

Two groups  are sponsoring the ballot initiative: Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights PAC, and Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom, a left wing dark money group backed by the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice Ohio, Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, and other left wing activists. 

We need to look at this fight with clear eyes: the pro-life movement has failed to win ballot initiative fights since the Dobbs decision. Last year the abortion industry outspent us two to one, putting tens of millions of dollars in ads on the air supporting abortion. The Left is mobilizing their dark money machine again this year, and it is going to take millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars to win this battle to save the lives of the unborn. 

Once the proposed language and its summary are fully approved by the Attorney General and the State Ballot Board, pro-abortion activists will need to collect and submit signatures equal to 10% or more of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election – 413,446 to be precise. In at least 44 of 88 counties, they need signatures equal to at least 5% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. 

If enough signatures are submitted at least 125 days ahead of the election, and enough of those signatures are then certified by the Secretary of State, the initiative would make it onto the ballot.

We only have a limited time to deploy the needed resources to defeat this effort. Time is of the essence.