© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Signatures submitted for abortion rights and marijuana legalization ballot measures

Pention workers for the nuclear power plant bailout are collecting signatures throughout Ohio.
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau

Signatures have been submitted for the ballot effort to enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio Constitution. On this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss that campaign and the pro-marijuana legalization issue that could also be on the November ballot.

Sign here

The Ohio Secretary of State's office and county boards of elections have a LOT of signatures to examine: nearly 1 million of them.

Over 700,000 signatures have been submitted to put an abortion rights amendment on the November ballot. Abortion rights advocates need about 414,000 of those signatures to be verified if they want their abortion rights issue to go before voters in the fall.

Abortion rights opponents shrugged off the number of signatures. Mike Gonidakis, who heads Ohio Right to Life, said the count was underwhelming considering the fact that getting twice the required number is the rule of thumb for success.

We are starting to see how the campaign will develop. It would be the only abortion measure on a ballot in the country, so there would be a lot of attention.

Supporters try to avoid the word "abortion." They prefer the terms "reproductive care" or "reproductive rights." They argue that Ohioans should be able to control their own bodies and medical care.

Abortion rights opponents are not saying that abortion is wrong. Instead, they are focusing on parental rights. They call the amendment the "anti-parent amendment," because they argue that the amendment would allow minors to get an abortion or gender-affirming care without parental consent.

Opponents also call it extreme and say that it will allow for late-term abortions. However, that is not entirely accurate. The amendment would prohibit the state from imposing restrictions up until the point of fetal viability. Exceptions could be made for the health of the mother.

Like alcohol

Ohio could also vote on legalizing recreational marijuana this fall. Supporters of recreational marijuana also submitted petition signatures Wednesday in their effort to make the November ballot.

The initiated statute would legalize the growth, sale and smoking of marijuana by people 21 and older, and create a 10% sales tax. Supporters submitted 222,000 signatures and need 124,000 of them to be valid to get the initiative on the ballot.

This is not an amendment, so state lawmakers could make recreational marijuana illegal right after this election. However, if it passes by a decent majority, will lawmakers openly defy the will of the voters?

If you have a suggestion for our "Snollygoster of the Week" award, a question or a comment, send them to snollygoster@wosu.org.